Review: 'Kung Fu Panda'

Animated feature puts a comedic spin on martial arts with a Jackie Chan voice-over.

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Martial arts movies are often comedic even when they don't intend to be. The whoops and hollers and high kicks inevitably carry an element of self-parody. Jackie Chan certainly understood this, and so do the filmmakers behind the Dreamworks animated feature "Kung Fu Panda," which, not coincidentally, employs Chan as a voice-over artist for a character called "Monkey." But it's the panda (voiced by Jack Black) that's the star attraction here. Designated as the long-awaited Dragon Warrior, the pot-bellied, courage-free slacker is an unlikely candidate to go up against the tigerish kung fu master Tai Lung, who regards the 1,000 guards assigned to imprison him as a mere nuisance. The animation is consistently sporty and there are some choice comic riffs on martial arts movies. Grade: B+ (Rated PG for sequences of martial arts action.)

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