Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)

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Continuing his “legendary adventures of awesomeness”, Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to home. (IMDb)
As colourful and creatively animated as always (see the unique multi-panel training montage, trippy climactic trip to the spirit world) but with heightened humour (“Even Master Chicken’s going in, and he’s a chicken!”) and emotion (the two-dad arc is a touching one: “Dads!”) this time around, often taking place within the same wonderful moment (see the two-dad fighting combo; chi circle: “You taught us to be who we were meant to be. A dad” “A friend” Granny panda: “A lethal fighting machine”).
7.5/10 (Really Good)

 

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

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Po and his friends fight to stop a peacock villain from conquering China with a deadly new weapon, but first the Dragon Warrior must come to terms with his past. (IMDb)
Like the first, the fat jokes fail (do we really need a “boing” sound every time something hits his tummy?) but the wild action sequences are heaps of fun (see Po’s cart ride with the wolf through town) and the animation delights (see the lovely 2D bits). Elsewhere, the villain’s good, the “who am I?” pathos is unremarkable, and the non-fat-joke humour lands (see the snarky old Soothsayer); ultimately, the colourful, lively anthropomorphic animal world carries this through any inconsistencies.
7/10 (Good)

 

Kung Fu Panda (2008)

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The Dragon Warrior has to clash against the savage Tai Lung as China’s fate hangs in the balance: However, the Dragon Warrior mantle is supposedly mistaken to be bestowed upon an obese panda who is a tyro in martial arts. (IMDb)
Unless you’re a fan of fat jokes, the humour doesn’t do much to spice up what is very much a predictable, seen-before “unlikely hero” story, just in a different context. Fortunately, said context is beautifully animated and said story is broken up by numerous large sequences of stunningly rendered and superbly creative kung-fu action. Boosted by Hoffman’s strong voice work, Shifu’s touching arc (see his farewell to Oogway by the tree) also adds a compelling secondary character element.
7/10 (Good)

 

Wanted (2008)

A frustrated office worker learns that he is the son of a professional assassin, and that he shares his father’s superhuman killing abilities. (IMDb)
The set-up in the first half-hour here is terribly contrived and cheesy, but it leads to an exciting premise capped off by a couple of good plot twists near the end. The over-the-top action along with the abundance of f-bombs and unique slow-motion shots combine to make an entertaining in-your-face experience (the “FUCK YOU” in airborne keyboard letters was particularly cool) but it occasionally feels too try-hard. Mostly bad acting regrettably cements this mixed bag of a film in mediocrity.
6.5/10 (Alright)

The Good Shepherd (2006)

The slow and brooding nature of the movie is in itself attractive, but it drags down the film when paired with a plot that is consistently difficult to latch onto. Damon is excellent, and his character’s uncomfortable family drama provides some engaging moments, but the central CIA birth-story fails to connect on a character level (despite a good cast) or a story level (despite an intriguing premise), making the film a chore to get through, especially considering its lengthy run time.
6/10 (Mediocre)