After being rescued by a samurai as a puppy, Hank (voice of Michael Cera) dreams of becoming a samurai himself. To do his training, he travels to a kingdom ruled and occupied by cats. Unaware of the deep-seated prejudice, suspicion and hatred towards dogs, Hank finds himself thrown into prison and awaiting execution.
Meanwhile, the evil Ika Cha (voice of Ricky Gervais) is responsible for finding a replacement samurai for the village of Kakamucho. Ika Cha secretly hopes to wipe the village off the map, so he plots to give the village the worst samurai possible, thus ensuring its destruction. Ika Cha bestows the title of samurai on Hank moments before Hank is to be killed, sending Hank to what he hopes will be an alternative death and solving his problem of the village at the same time.
Unfortunately for Ika Cha, young Emiko (voice of Kylie Kuioka) intervenes and stops everyone from harming Hank. At a loss, Hank enlists the help of the legendary but disgraced samurai Jimbo (voice of Samuel L. Jackson). With Jimbo’s guidance, Hank faces the giant Sumo (voice of Djimon Hounsou), fierce bandits and ninja armies of ninjas, all of whom have been sent to destroy the village.
Unfortunately, the adulation of the villagers isn’t all it appears to be, and Ika Cha is still plotting Hank’s demise and the village’s destruction. Hank and his friends must work together to defeat an invasion meant to destroy everyone and everything in Kakamucho.
War; greed and the destructive forces of extremes of wealth and power; shame; persecution because of difference; bullying; ignoring children, even when they offer reason and wisdom
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank has some violence. For example:
- A flashback fight scene has a lot of hitting, punching, kicking and shooting with arrows.
- Ika Cha knocks a bowl out of someone’s arms. He also deliberately spills paint on someone’s head, shoves someone over a banister, and destroys curtains and chairs with his claws. At the same time, he talks about how he intends to wipe Kakamucho off the map.
- Aggressive bandits attack a village. They destroy homes, shoot flaming arrows into a fireworks tower, and throw metal stars at an elderly villager.
- Hank is told that he’ll be executed and that there are many prisoners to kill. He stands in front of a line of archers, who begin to shoot him. He’s saved at the last second when an arrow goes through the hand of a guard.
- A character looks down the barrel of a gun and is told that guns don’t kill cats – cars and curiosity do that.
- The villagers agree to kill Hank and try to attack him. He tries to escape but is smashed in the face with a wok and rendered unconscious.
- One character asks, ‘Why can’t people kill someone just because they look different?’
- The villagers fight bandits in the streets. There is throwing, fighting, hitting and chasing. Two villagers repeatedly punch an old cat in the face.
- Hank hits his head on a pole as some dog bullies repeatedly punch him, hit him and hang him upside down.
- A sword is thrown at a character’s neck. It pins the character to a wall by their clothes.
- Another character gets a fork stabbed into their foot.
- Jimbo repeatedly smacks Hank in the face with a wooden pole.
- Hank smashes himself into a cliff, shoots an arrow into Jimbo’s shoulder, burns his hand and falls into a river.
- A training machine repeatedly hits, punches and throws Hank into a boulder.
- Jimbo recounts an event where catnip was poured on a fire and it exploded. He recalls how partygoers were injured. A little cat is shown lying face down in a cake.
- After a sculptor accidentally causes part of a statue to fall, archers shoot him.
- Sumo punches a horse in the face, causing numerous horses to fall down.
- Sumo throws a piano out of a window and tries to crush numerous cats, including Emiko.
- Hank knocks himself out with a weapon.
- Emiko goes after Sumo with a sword and slices off a patch of his stomach fur.
- A doctor stabs needles into Sumo. The doctor later stabs needles into his own hand.
- Flaming bottles are thrown into houses as the town is violently attacked. Sumo is covered with Ninjas as he attempts to defend the villagers while the town burns.
- Jimbo and Hank use swords to fight an army of guard cats. One is punched in the face.
- Jimbo stays to fight an entire army while Hank and Sumo try to save the village. Hank is under the impression they’re leaving him to die as hundreds of guards attack him.
- Ika Cha amasses an army of serial killers, pirates and Vikings to destroy Kakamacho once and for all.
- The villagers band together to fight the murderers and mercenaries. There is a lot of kicking, shooting, punching, hitting, spitting, bashing and smashing. Needles are poked into an eye, and a character is smashed in the face.
- Hank and Ika Cha use swords to fight on the seat of a giant toilet until Ika Cha is sucked down.
- When the toilet overflows it sends a flood of water towards the village, destroying all in its path.
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank has some sexual references. For example:
- Jimbo refers to his in-laws having been spayed and neutered.
- Hank is told that he looks hot. Two girls ask him, ‘Who licks your hair?’
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank shows some use of substances. For example:
- Jimbo appears to have a drinking problem. He occasionally seems drunk, and he brews and frequently consumes his own catnip drinks.
- Milk and martinis are served in a bar.
- Hank tells Jimbo that he can’t just hide in the bottom of a bottle when things get tough.
Nudity and sexual activity
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- During a raid on the village, a character is showering. Bandits race through the house, destroying everything in their path and briefly exposing a naked cat who crouches down in the tub.
- Hank’s robe falls off and the camera angle is shown from the rear view, between his legs. Everyone looks shocked as Hank says, ‘Eyes up here’.
- Sumo wears the traditional sumo attire. While fighting Hank, he lands on him and needs to pull Hank out of his buttocks.
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank has a reference to Twitter and tweets. Mentos are also mentioned.
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank has some name-calling and insults, including ‘idiot’, ‘dummies’, ‘brainless’, ‘imbecile’, ‘morons’, ‘selfish idiot’ and ‘sucks’. Also, a character tells another that he’s a washed-up loser who has no real friends’.
The movie also has crude humour, especially in relation to passing wind.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is an animated adventure aimed at children, who are likely to appreciate the crude humour and slapstick violence. But because of its frequent violence, themes and name-calling, this movie isn’t suited to younger viewers. It’s more appropriate for slightly older children, with parental guidance recommended to 10 years.
These are the main messages from Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank:
- Fear is in your mind, and you must control it or it will control you.
- It doesn’t matter that someone is different. Differences should be celebrated because there’s a lot to learn from others and other ways of doing things.
Values in Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank that you could reinforce with your children include teamwork, determination, persistence, courage and tolerance.
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of things like:
- believing that others should ‘go back to where they came from’ or be persecuted for being different
- being greedy, self-centred and concerned only with what you want and what will benefit you
- drinking too much
- refusing to listen to children even when what they say is wise
- bullying others
- using violence to resolve conflict.