What’s not to love about a big-boned panda with the kind of martial arts moves that Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris and Dolph Lundgren would be proud? Po and gang were back in action in 2016 with the release of Kung Fu Panda 3 and he had a whole village full of fellow pandas to get to know, along with an ancient evil to defeat in the latest installment of the high kicking series.
Incredibly, it’s been nearly eight years since he made his first appearance back in 2008 and the new film saw him trying to get to grips with a much larger community of pandas, thanks to the introduction of his biological dad into the mix. Sadly, the population of real-life pandas has continued to fall in the intervening years, so hopefully the film will help to bring a bit more attention to their plight and the efforts of organisations like the World Wildlife Fund to protect them. Find out more about the giant panda’s dwindling numbers and what you can do to help at www.wwf.org.uk/wildlife/giant_panda/.
Kung Fu Panda 3 had its UK release date on the big screen on the 11th March 2016, following the much earlier release in the States on the 29th January 2016. It was available in 3D, as well as 2D screenings, so you could see Po’s giant panda frame careering across the screen in all its belly-busting glory. Check out the trailer below to see how much screen jumping action there’s going to be.
DVD, Blu-ray and digital download:
The UK DVD release date was on the 11th July 2016, and it was also available on digital download, Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray from the same date and you can check our review at the bottom of the page, along with the trailer, to get an idea of what to expect.
The plot centres on the arrival of Po’s long-lost dear old dad, Li, who’s been searching for his son ever since he lost him as a young cub. Once they finally figure out that they’re actually related following a little sad confusion, which you can see in the trailer below, they travel together to a secret panda haven where Po discovers a new group of bamboo-loving buddies to get to know.
However, while Po’s off on his own adventure, an evil supernatural being known as Kai starts to maraud through China defeating any and all Kung Fu masters that stand in his way. When the danger appears to be heading his way he’s left with little choice but to train his peaceful panda pap and the rest of the village how to defend themselves, and possibly defeat the invading force.
Jack Black (Goosebumps) plays Po once again along with Angelina Jolie (The Tourist), Lucy Liu (Charlie’s Angels), Jackie Chan (The Karate Kid), David Cross (Pitch Perfect 2) and Seth Rogen (The Interview) as Tigress, Viper, Monkey, Crane and Mantis. Dustin Hoffman (Esio Trot Movie) is back as Master Shifu, James Hong plays Po’s adopted father Mr. Ping again and Randall Duk Kim (John Wick) plays Oogway.
There are a few new additions to the cast in the third outing in the Kung Fu Panda series with Brian Cranston (Godzilla) taking on the role of Po’s long lost dad, Li, as well as J. K. Simmons (Terminator Genisys) as the vicious Kai. Kate Hudson (How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days) also joins the martial arts action as giant panda Mei Mei, who Po meets at the secret village.
Kung Fu Panda 3 has been co-directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Dark City), who also directed the second movie in the series, and Alessandro Carloni (The Croods). Melissa Cobb is down as the producer of the film, which was written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, who have been with the franchise from day one. The great Hans Zimmer was in charge of music and Guillermo Del Toro was the executive producer.
This is another fun-filled family outing from the panda loving series and as CGI gets more and more advanced we’re really starting to see the benefits on the big screen, resulting in a very impressive looking film throughout. We’re not always big fans of Jack Black as a comic actor, but in cartoon form he nails it, and Kung Fu Panda 3 is just as funny as the rest of the movies in the series.
The addition of Brian Cranston and J. K. Simmons to the cast is a very clever move, as they bring a lot of weight with them in terms of serious acting potential and vocal gravitas. We were hoping for a bit more malevolence from Simmons in summoning up the voice of the ancient evil that is Kai, but was still a big part of how good the film has turned out to be Check out our full Kung Fu Panda 3 DVD review for more details.