Kung Fu Panda 2 is a sequel that definitely lives up to its predecessor, thanks to excellent animation and a great mix of action, comedy, and important life lessons. Dragon Warrior Po (Jack Black) has matured and mastered many new challenges since learning the art of kung fu and defeating the snow leopard Tai Lung, but he hasn''t lost his penchant for steamed buns, nor has he achieved what his teacher Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) describes as true inner peace. Before he can settle into the arduous task of self-discovery, word arrives that a nearby town of musicians has been attacked and their leader Master Thundering Rhino (Victor Garber) killed by a newly invented weapon that breathes fire and spits out metal--a weapon that is a harbinger of the end of kung fu and the domination of all of China by Lord Shen (Gary Oldman). Po and the Furious Five (Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan, David Cross, and Lucy Liu) set out to destroy the mysterious weapon and save kung fu, encountering the imprisoned and very dispirited kung fu legends Master Oxen (Dennis Haysbert) and Master Croc (Jean-Claude Van Damme) along the way, but the group quickly discovers that their task is far from simple. Even as Soothsayer (Michelle Yeoh) adamantly foretells Lord Shen''s defeat at the hands of a warrior of black and white, Po struggles with the realization that he must come to terms with his adoption in order to let go of the past and become who he chooses to be. Only then can he achieve the inner peace that will empower him to triumph over his personal insecurities and Lord Shen. Kung Fu Panda 2 offers excellent animation and 3-D effects, nice brisk pacing, great voice talent, life lessons that ring true, and a healthy dose of comedy that includes everything from wisecracks to a dragon that eats unsuspecting villagers and then poops them out, and a radish trained in the art of kung fu. (Ages 3 and older) --Tami Horiuchi
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