‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ is the Best of the Trilogy

GameStop, Inc.

Kung Fu Panda 3Throughout the years it has been no secret of my disdain of anything involving David Cross and Seth Rogen and having the duo in any franchise is like having my most irrational fear com true (that being a snake crawling up the drainpipe while using the facilities). Adding Jack Black to the mix and you’d think I would have tapped out before the original Kung Fu Panda was released in 2008.

However, 8 years and three movies later, the Kung Fu Panda trilogy has come to a close, ending on a high note that actually leaves you breathless.

Kung Fu Panda 3 shares principles of the Tao of Jeet Kune Do developed by Bruce Lee in taking what is useful to you, expelling what is not and adding what is unique to yourself. It also has imagery reminiscent of the Shaw Brothers classic 1970s Hong Kong films.

Po (Jack Black) and Li (Bryan Cranston) reunited after 20 plus years in 'Kung Fu Panda 3'.

Po (Jack Black) and Li (Bryan Cranston) reunited after 20 plus years in ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’.

Po’s (Jack Black) biological father Li (Bryan Cranston) has come searching for him after 20 plus years from the secret panda village after Kai (J.K. Simmons), a former brother in arms of the Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) escapes the afterlife by stealing the chi of all the grandmasters who have passed in order to return to world of the living, defeat the dragon warrior and become the most powerful kung fu fighter all the world has ever seen.

Now with the help of Po’s adoptive father Mr. Ping (James Hong), Tigress (Angelina Jole), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Viper (Lucy Liu), Crane (Cross), Mantis (Rogen), Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and pandas of the secret village including Mei Mei (Kate Hudson) and Hom-Lee (Wayne Knight), the warriors of the jade palace will face Kai and his chi army  in order to save China.

One of the not so hidden messages of the film is how we define family and that just because the person who raised you is not your blood does not make him any less of a father than your biological one. Po now has two fathers who love him, not necessarily in the modern sense of having two fathers who share an intimate life together, but rather the extended family of either a step or adoptive father who was willing to raise and love you like his own.

Kung Fu Panda 3 will leave a lasting impression and an animated film with a message that goes beyond saying, “Hey, you have a 6-year-old and like getting stoned? Cool, you two can watch this together.”

Kung Fu Panda 3 opens nationwide on Friday, January 29, 2016

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