“Kung Fu Panda 3” will knock, uh, kick your socks off! There’s still a lot of energy and creativity left in the franchise. Speaking of energy, that’s what the plot is about in this third installment. A real baddie of a villain named Kai (voiced by J.K. Simmons) is determined to get back to the mortal world from the spirit world where he has been banished for turning evil. Kai calls himself the “Beast of Vengeance” and he seems to really mean it. His goal is to capture the “chi”, the living energy, of all the masters in order to defeat them all and to reign supreme. However, a prophecy stands in his way, a prophecy that Po ( voiced by Jack Black) will defeat him. The plot thickens when Po meets his long lost father Li (voiced by Bryan Cranston), who brings him to the secret place of the Pandas, a place Po never knew existed. He is amazed at meeting Pandas that are older, younger, fatter, and yet still look like him. Yet Po must learn to master his chi before he takes on Kai.
The film boasts a lot of action, martial arts fighting, and slapstick humor. In fact, there are plenty of laughs and the kids I screened the film with chuckled on several occasions. Rest assured, despite his biggest challenge yet, Po will find a way to rescue the masters, including Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman). The movie features a happy ending for all. We are as pleased as a Panda to award the film our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for ages twelve-plus. “Kung Fu Panda 3” is a wonderful movie, featuring the theme of “Be the best you that you can be.” And it includes the classic song, “Kung Fu Fighting”. Get to the theater soon and cheer for Po!