cast: Jack Black
While it looks terrific in 3D… the flashbacks of Kung Fu Master Panda Po’s childhood, shown in old-school animation and weaving in and out of the computerized continuation of the successful, and entertaining, original… the sequel is pretty boring, mainly because the backstory envelopes everything here: centering on where Po (Jack Black) came from, how he fit in a basket and was found by his adopted fowl father, still running his bistro with an iron cha-ching. Dustin Hoffman’s once important teacher, Shifu, makes a quick, pointless cameo in the beginning as Po and his pals, barely making a difference to the proceedings (especially Jackie Chan, who hardly utters a syllable), travel to fight the new villain, Shen, an evil peacock with nefarious pointy-faced wolf minions. Knowing a thing or two about Po’s origins first hand, Shen holds a personal grip on our hero, who's so bogged-down by frustrated melancholy that when fight scenes occur they seem rushed – our cumbersome hero destined to return to that mushy personal quest of what happened to his parents: a yearning only “inner-peace” can quench… zzzzzz. But does it really matter from whence he came? We already know the true beginning is the first film, which this is a pale, lackluster, unfunny shadow of. So next time around… if there is a next time… progression is essential.