Critic’s Rating : 2.5 / 5
Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank Movie Review : A not-so-pawesome watch
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank Review: The animated comic adventure borrows its premise from Mel Brooks’s 1974 Western comedy, Blazing Saddles, and the title from Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury. Instead of the Old West, the setting is a Japanese feline land where a conniving cat, Ika Chu (Ricky Gervais), wants to wipe off the impoverished village, Kakamucho, to impress the visiting shogun (Mel Brooks) with his perfect palace. His big idea is to send bandits to chase the villagers away and use a giant jade toilet (yes!) to wash the place out. As the thugs invade the hamlet, the samurai flees to save his life. The shogun orders Ika Chu to appoint a new protector, and the latter gets a bullied and hapless prisoner dog, Hank (Michael Cera), who aspires to be a samurai.
Here’s the problem. The cats of Kakamucho hate dogs ‘because it feels right’ and terrorise the out-of-luck pooch. But Hank perseveres and persuades a has-been cat-nip addict samurai, Jimbo (Samuel L Jackson), to train him. What follows is Hank’s training, earning the cats’ trust, a fallout between the master and student duo, and whether the dog manages to save Kakamucho.
Loosely based on Blazing Saddles, the film suffers from an unimaginative screenplay and is too derivative. It will instantly remind you of Kung Fu Panda minus its genuine humour. Jokes in this animated comic adventure seem forced — Ika Chu is mistakenly called Pikachu, horses have GPS or Giddy-up Positioning System and woking/walking the dog means to hit the dog with a wok. The flick’s attempts to break the fourth wall and the self-reference, as well as a nod to other pop culture media, make things more contrived. Jimbo says about the kitten Emiko (Kylie Kuioka), ‘The cuteness is strong with this one,’ Ika Chu wants to recruit studio executives and serial killers (including Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th) into his army. It almost seems like the makers were aware of the cliches but decided to have fun at their own expense.
Cera and Jackson, as the leads, are delightful. Ricky Gervais as the antagonist, Ika Chu, stands out with his snarky tone and arrogance. Getting Mel Brooks as the elderly shogun is a tribute of sorts. The toilet humour is a bit over the top with the giant commode, cats flatulating, pranksters changing the signboard from pop to poop, and so on,
The animation is decent, especially when Jimbo goes into a flashback about how he ended up as a washed-up overweight recluse and the martial arts sequences. Little kids will find the movie entertaining and may even laugh at the slapstick comedy, but adults won’t miss much if they skip this one.