DVD REVIEW: LEGEND OF KUNG FU RABBIT / CERT: U / DIRECTOR: LIJUN SUN / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: JON HEDER, MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN, REBECCA BLACK, TOM ARNOLD / RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 11th
This animated affair centres on Fu (Heder), a large, unassuming rabbit who wants nothing more than to be the best cook that he can be. After rescuing martial arts master Shifu (Arnold) during an ambush, Fu is gifted with the magical power of kung fu. Tasked with a mission to return a tablet to Shifu’s daughter, Penny (Black), Fu must become one with his new power and take on the big, bad, imposing figure of Slash (Duncan).
Let’s get it out of the way: yes, this is a blatant rip-off of the enjoyable Kung Fu Panda. From a quick search on the legalities of such a film, it appears that there are actually quite a few Kung Fu Panda rip-offs out there, with this apparently one of the better ones. That bodes amazingly badly for the other films that have pulled on DreamWorks’ Jack Black starrer, for Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit is a feature that falls short on so many levels.
As if a remarkably derivative story weren't enough, this rabbit’s tale is a sluggish, poorly thought-out feature that never threatens to do anything more than simply just get by. The animation is dull and so-so, with this doppelganger clearly not having anywhere near the budget of Kung Fu Panda, and the film also loses something in translation as the English dub is massively out of synch, only adding further to a sloppy presentation.
As for the talents involved, Jon Heder’s Fu just comes across as annoying, whiny and tiresome. The rest of the characters and cast are equally as forgettable and bland, although Michael Clarke Duncan’s dulcet tones bring some sense of menace to panda Slash. It’s just sad to see this wet fart of a movie serve as one of Duncan’s last.
In fairness to Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit, younger viewers may enjoy the adventure, especially if they’ve not seen Kung Fu Panda, and it could serve perfectly fine as background fodder to keep the nippers mildly entertained for a little while. Even that may be pushing it, though, as the film just becomes a chore to get through during its repetitive, stretched out and overplayed second act.
All in all, this is one of those movies that you will regret giving your time to, and it will have you thinking of all the other, better ways you could have spent ninety minutes of your day, such as chewing glass or repainting the house and then watching the walls dry.