KUNG FU PANDA 4 Arrives On Rotten Tomatoes With A Fresh Score

This coming weekend, for the first time in almost a decade, Jack Black returns to one of his most famous roles as Po, the world’s most unlikely kung fu master, for a butt-kicking new chapter in DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 4.

The review embargo lifted late on Wednesday and, while early word on this long-awaited fourth chapter is pretty posituve, the movie has also set a somewhat disappointing record for the animated franchise. 

As we first reported on Toonado.com, Kung Fu Panda 4 has a 73% Rotten Tomatoes score based on 51 reviews. This is lower than Kung Fu Panda (87%), Kung Fu Panda 2 (81%), and Kung Fu Panda 3 (87%), albeit not by a massive amount; the movie also sits comfortably in that all-important “Fresh” territory. 

However, it’s a couple of percentage points below where it needs to be to earn “Certified Fresh” status. 

In 2008, the Academy Award-nominated inaugural chapter, Kung Fu Panda, became DreamWorks Animation’s highest-grossing original animated film and launched a franchise that has earned more than $1.8 billion at the global box office. How this instalment will fare at the box office remains to be seen.

You can watch the trailer for the latest Kung Fu Panda movie below.

After three death-defying adventures defeating world-class villains with his unmatched courage and mad martial arts skills, Po, the Dragon Warrior (Golden Globe nominee Jack Black), is called upon by destiny to … give it a rest already. More specifically, he’s tapped to become the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace.

That poses a couple of obvious problems. First, Po knows as much about spiritual leadership as he does about the paleo diet, and second, he needs to quickly find and train a new Dragon Warrior before he can assume his new lofty position.

Even worse, there’s been a recent sighting of a wicked, powerful sorceress, Chameleon (Oscar® winner Viola Davis), a tiny lizard who can shapeshift into any creature, large or small. And Chameleon has her greedy, beady little eyes on Po’s Staff of Wisdom, which would give her the power to re-summon all the master villains whom Po has vanquished to the spirit realm.

So, Po’s going to need some help. He finds it (kinda?) in the form of crafty, quick-witted thief Zhen (Golden Globe winner Awkwafina), a corsac fox who really gets under Po’s fur but whose skills will prove invaluable. In their quest to protect the Valley of Peace from Chameleon’s reptilian claws, this comedic odd-couple duo will have to work together. In the process, Po will discover that heroes can be found in the most unexpected places.

Kung Fu Panda 4 features the voice talent of returning stars Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman as Kung Fu master, Shifu; James Hong as Po’s adoptive father, Mr. Ping; Academy Award nominee Bryan Cranston as Po’s birth father, Li, and Emmy Award nominee Ian McShane as Tai Lung, Shifu’s former student and arch-nemesis. Oscar winner Ke Huy Quan joins the ensemble as a new character, Han, the leader of the Den of Thieves.

The movie is directed by Mike Mitchell (Trolls, Shrek Forever After) and produced by Rebecca Huntley (The Bad Guys) and co-directed by Stephanie Ma Stine (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power).

Kung Fu Panda 4 arrives in theaters this weekend.