Po (voice of Jack Black) is fulfilling his role as the Dragon Warrior, fighting alongside the Furious Five – Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Mantis (Seth Rogan), Crane (David Cross), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Monkey (Jackie Chan) – to protect the people of China. Kung Fu Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) tells Po that his training is almost complete and that Po now needs to find his ‘inner peace’.
Po begins to have terrible flashbacks to an event that he doesn’t remember. He starts wondering about where he really comes from. His father, Mr Ping (James Hong), tells Po that he adopted him when he found him on his doorstep as a baby, but doesn’t know how he came to be there.
As Po searches for answers, a great evil threatens to take over China. Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) has turned his family’s discovery – fireworks – into firepower in the form of cannonballs. He has gathered an army of wolves, which is armed with the one thing that looks like it can stop kung fu. It’s up to Po and the Furious Five to save China. Along the way, though, Po needs to find out who he really is.
Death; separation from parents; adoption; war
Kung Fu Panda 2 contains many violent scenes. Fight scenes throughout the movie include kung fu fighting, punches, kicks, swordfights, daggers, flaming arrows, spears, axes, sledgehammers and explosions from cannonballs. It should be noted that this movie is showing in both 3D and 2D versions and that action and fighting scenes in 3D can be very intense for young children.
Examples of violence include the following:
- Children play at kung fu fighting.
- Po and the Furious Five fight with the bandits who come to take metal from a small village. Po and the Five use kung fu moves to fight the bandits, who use arrows and swords to fight back.
- Lord Shen treats his workers roughly. He screams at them, pushes them around and often shoots daggers at them.
- Lord Shen fights with the kung fu masters Croc and Ox. Then Shen shoots a cannonball into kung fu Master Rhino, which kills him.
- Bandits bully local villagers.
- Lord Shen shoots cannonballs into a tower, which explodes and collapses. Po and the Furious Five try to escape from the tower but are shot at with flaming arrows. They run up the collapsing building, avoiding the arrows and the explosions to jump to safety.
- Po is shot by a cannonball. He’s hit in the stomach and thrown high in the air and then into the water.
- In a flashback scene, Po remembers what happened to his parents. The pandas are attacked by Lord Shen and his bandits. Po’s mother cries as she hides him in a basket.
- Lord Shen kills his deputy with daggers after the deputy refuses to shoot a cannonball.
- There’s a huge fight scene on boats, with cannonballs, swords and kung fu. There are many explosions, big flames, boats being crushed and destroyed, and bandits thrown from their boats.
- Lord Shen fights Po using daggers before being crushed by the falling mast on the boat.
- Lord Shen yells, ‘I will kill him’, ‘How many times do I have to kill him?’ and ‘Kill him, somebody kill him’.
Content that might disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five. For example:
- The wolves and gorillas might scare some children. The wolves are often searching at night, jumping from roof to roof and howling.
- Lord Shen’s lair has vats of molten metals and fire in barrels. It’s a scary place.
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children aged 5-8 years. For example:
- Flashback scenes from Po’s childhood show Lord Shen trying to rid China of all pandas and coming after Po and his family. Po’s mother tearfully chooses to hide Po in a box of radishes. Then it looks like she’s chased and killed by Lord Shen and the bandits.
- Baby Po is on his own until found by Mr Ping.
It’s unlikely that any scenes in the movie will scare or disturb children in this age group.
Nothing of concern
This movie has some mild sexual references. For example:
- A male panda flutters an open fan, wears a red fringe on his head and bats his eyes to distract a menacing wolf.
- A male panda tells a female ram with a beard that he thought she was a ‘he’ because of ‘false advertising’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie shows some use of substances. For example, Po is given acupuncture and medicine when he’s hurt.
Nudity and sexual activity
None of concern
There’s no product placement of concern in the movie, but merchandise associated with the movie is being extensively marketed.
This movie has some mild put-downs.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Kung Fu Panda 2 is an action animated sequel to the first Kung Fu Panda movie. The many violent scenes in the movie – particularly in the 3D version – make it too scary for children under five and some children under eight. Younger children might also imitate some of the violence shown.
The main messages from the movie include the following:
- Family is important, but family doesn’t have to be your relatives. Family can be people who love and nurture you.
- A person can choose to leave behind an unhappy past and make a happy future. When Po discovers his true beginnings, he can choose either to hold on to his sadness and anger towards Lord Shen. Or Po can move forward with positive love and support from Mr Ping and his friends.
You might also want to talk with your children about some of the real-life issues raised by the movie, including:
- misuse of power
- meditation and ‘inner peace’
- the use of martial arts.