Thursday, August 8, 2019

Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny - Blade of the Red Phoenix

After opening with a sequence involving Po's (Mick Wingert) vision of two dragons battling, and a visit from Oogway (Piotr Michael), "Blade of the Red Phoenix" sends Po and his students back into the cave where the four young Pandas discovered their power in search of a scroll which may help unlock the secrets to their powers and which Jindiao (Steve Blum) covets to complete his plans. As with the earlier episodes of the series, "Blade of the Red Phoenix" showcases one character further unlocking his powers. Here it's Fan Tong (Makana Say) who conjures a sword using chi of Red Phoenix to vanquish the demon sent by Jindiao to capture the scroll. The greater control of his powers also unlocks part of the scroll, foreshadowing all may be revealed when all four students are ready.

There's definitely some fun to be had here, such as Po's struggles to get the young Pandas back in the cave, and the battle on the stage to close out the episode. Unfortunately, the episode also returns the most annoying character in the franchise in Mei Mei (Chrissy Metz) who enlists Po and the other Pandas to be part of her show. The arrival of Mr. Ping (James Hong) also reignites a competition between Po's two fathers (which seemed to have already been put to rest back in Kung Fu Panda 3). While each sequence involves some laughs, neither is as interesting as the rest of the already plot-heavy episode.

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