Starring: Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, JK Simmons, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan

Director: Alessandro Carloni, Jennifer Yuh

95 minutes

Kung Fu Panda 3 finds Po, dumpling infatuated panda and martial arts dragon warrior, as a local celebrity, high fiving the town’s residents before heading off to rid the town of countless waves of mischievous villains. Po’s trainer Shifu (Hoffman) decides Po must revive his training and hands over the duties of teacher to the hapless bear. Up step Kai (Simmons), who has collected the Chi of all fallen warriors in the spirit realm, to finish the job in the mortal world and sets out to find and harvest Po and his friends life-force. All of this is complicated by Po’s biological father Li (Cranston) turning up and Po finding himself forced into converting a fun loving, food terrorising secret village of Panda’s into crack warriors to defeat Kai.

It seems that with every ensuing episode of the Kung Fu Panda series, another A list star attaches themselves to the Panda wagon. So bloated is the cast becoming that you feel Kung Fu Panda 10 will have more A list characters involved than a Tolstoy guest-penned Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

At times, the animation is nothing short of mind-blowing as it feels more like a glorious showcase of world animation forms than a kid’s movie. However, no amount of visual beauty or optical treats can hide the fact that the straightforward plot and shaky dialogue are found to be desperately wanting at times. Even at an hour and a half it seems to drag as its narrative is clumsily heaved along with very little fun, excitement or plot surprises.

Blacks voiceover work is getting somewhat irritating as he yet again seems to roll out another voice-by-numbers effort with his eyes entirely on the pay-cheque. Simmons adds a sprinkle of much needed flare but his character is regrettably marginalised in favour of Cranstone’s surprisingly dull portrayal of Po’s father.

As a damning elucidation of the basic capacity of a family movie, Kung Fu Panda 3 fruitlessly wrestles to hold the attention of its younger spectators. Appended to the fact that there’s very little extra for the older viewers, it makes you wonder what audience this movie was actually written for in the first place.

Kung Fu Panda 3 seems to be a quickly assembled money-machine which has lost the essence of the previous movies. It looks absolutely wonderful but there is such a lack of fun that it quickly becomes dull and forgettable. This panda seems to have lost his Chi after all.

4 / 10