Kung Fu Panda 3 review: This warrior is far from Po-faced
Ardent fans of unlikely kung fu-fighting warrior Po will happily grin and panda bear this derivative yet breathlessly energetic third instalment of the computer-animated adventure series.
Visually, Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni's picture is a black belt: bright colours saturate the screen, the 3D format is employed adroitly and character detail has improved noticeably since Kung Fu Panda 2 hit the cinema screen.
Jack Black's whirlwind vocal performance, which enlivened the first two chapters, is more of a stiff breeze here, but still whips up big laughs. After 500 years of incarceration in the Spirit Realm, megalomaniacal yak Kai (voiced by JK Simmons) steals the chi of every kung fu master including his one-time friend, Oogway (Randall Duk Kim).
Only the Dragon Warrior - overweight dumpling-obsessed panda Po (Black) - can bring Kai's reign of terror to an end.
So the power-crazed yak returns to the mortal plane and gallops towards the Jade Palace to lock horns with Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and his plucky disciples: Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Crane (David Cross). Meanwhile, Po is reunited with his rotund biological father, Li Shan (Bryan Cranston), and embarks on a quest to harness the power of chi.
The third outing is a fitting conclusion, so DreamWorks Animations will hopefully learn from the mistakes of Shrek and let Po bow out in style.