“From Zero to Hero”
Obviously trying to compete with the Kung Fu Panda series of films and television program, Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit tells the story of Fu (Jon Heder), a dim-witted forgetful rabbit who promises a dying monkey named Shifu (Tom Arnold) he will take a sacred tablet to the monkey’s estranged daughter Penny (Rebecca Black). But Slash (Michael Clark Duncan), Penny’s brother, wants the tablet for himself and is actively campaigning to find it.
First and foremost you should know this disc is the English dubbed version of the film and as such, the audio track does not match up with the animation of the track. I didn’t know this until I watched the special features, so allow me to save you that frustration. I did not really connect with Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit as the story falters and eventually stops instead of moving us along. This leads to the film feeling longer than its already too-long 89 minute runtime.
There are some definite parallels to the Kung Fu Panda story. The hero loves food, he’s a big guy and as such an unlikely Kung Fu master, and he gets his powers in an unconventional way. But what trips up this story is the detour Fu takes. He’s been telepathically gifted with all the Kung Fu prowess of a master (yeah, that’s a thing). When he arrives at the place where he believes Penny to be, she’s not there. So instead of going around asking about her, he forgets what he’s supposed to be doing and instead allows himself to become an unpaid worker in the kitchen. We spend far too long watching Fu as he works in the kitchen. To give you an idea of how long the story meanders, consider the fact the rabbit does not use Kung Fu until about the 1 hour mark of the film. There’s a lack of humor, of life lessons, of a compelling story…altogether there’s a lack of just about everything.
The dubbing bothers me, especially since there is no other audio option, a definite oversight. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track otherwise sounds great but I really wish the original audio was an option. The 2.35:1 aspect video transfer has some beautiful aspects, notably during the nighttime shots. There is a lovely glow to some of the shots and it is especially apparent during the power strike scenes. However the palette does tend to favor a more monochromatic look than I like.
The special features are more engaging than the feature film, especially the collection of shorts starring a cast of bugs.
There is not much I like about Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit aside from some bits of the animation. The story meanders, drags out the runtime and is not compelling. I say skip this disc, you’re not missing much.