So, Agent Carter is the actual worst (here’s a Triad for you: racist, sexist, and obnoxious!), and Agent Lee’s straight man doesn’t offer enough in the way of countering his shit this time around, so with the trilogy’s now completely uninspired lead duo, it’s harder than ever to stay engaged with the uninteresting and unintelligible detective plot, especially when Chan’s action sequences feel fewer and farther between and the translating nun is the only good comedy bit worth mentioning.
Casual racism and sexism aren’t funny (oh look, two grown men excitedly spying on a woman undressing.. hilarious), and a few scenes aside (see Carter’s commotion at the craps table) that accounts for all the humour of the film, tainting the otherwise charming odd-couple dynamic of 7-11 Carter and “student doing all the work on the group project” Lee. Elsewhere, the plot is fairly forgettable detective fodder but populated by lots of fun action sequences (highlighted by Chan’s incredible skills).
To win a bet, an eccentric British inventor beside his Chinese valet and an aspiring French artist, embarks on a trip full of adventures and dangers around the world in exactly eighty days. (IMDb)
It’s pretty goofy–in a cringe-y way sometimes (the plot and the green screens are pretty hard to take seriously), but mostly it’s just a lot of fun, with humour that comes often and is often quite clever (see the accidental artwork arising from the altercation) and an adventure that brings with it plenty of cool kung fu action and bumbling side characters. It wasn’t at the forefront obviously, but there were hints of good character development for Coogan’s progressive yet uptight scientist too.
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)
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.
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.
Two cops team up to get back a kidnapped daughter. (IMDb)
A typical and bland buddy cop vs. terrorist plot here is redeemed by Tucker and Chan’s entertaining odd couple; with the former’s rapid-fire high-pitched vocal antics, Chan’s awesome martial arts stunt work and even a few charming one-liners, and some fun moments shared between the two of them (the “War” sing along is great), Rush Hour never bores, despite its mediocre story and minimal character development.