The computer-animated martial arts comedy film Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank hit theaters on July 15, 2022. It is directed by Rob Minkoff & Mark Koetsier, with Adam Phillips as an additional director. The film is a loose adaptation of the 1974 Mel Brooks film Blazing Saddles and features the voices of Michael Cera, Ricky Gervais, Mel Brooks, George Takei, Aasif Mandvi, Gabriel Iglesias, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Yeoh, and Samuel L. Jackson. In the film, Hank, a loveable dog, dreams about becoming a samurai and sets off in search of his destiny, and along the way, he meets a wise old cat who helps him build his skills and strength. With this newfound knowledge, Hank must use his newly acquired martial arts skills to save a town of cats from a villain.
In a review published by The Wrap, they praised the film’s humor and animation style saying, “The jokes are fast and dense, and the filmmakers manage to squeeze in many movie references within the brief runtime, as well as some stylistic experimentation. It’s nice to see some creative liberties taken with the comics-inspired pointillistic style of the flashbacks, or the more traditional Japanese illustrations of the legends that start the film (with a rather rousing power ballad to boot).”
If you enjoyed Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, here are five movies we recommend watching that also include martial arts, great action sequences, and lovable characters.
Kung Fu Panda
The 2008 American computer-animated martial arts comedy film Kung Fu Panda also includes a wise mentor for martial arts and a charming lead character just like Paws of Fury. Kung Fu Panda is the first installment in the Kung Fu Panda franchise. Directed by John Stevenson (in his feature directorial debut) and Mark Osborne, the film stars the voices of Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Randall Duk Kim, James Hong, Dan Fogler, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Jackie Chan. The film is set in a version of ancient China populated by anthropomorphic animals and revolves around a bumbling panda named Po, a kung-fu enthusiast. When an evil kung fu warrior named Tai Lung threatens to conquer the Valley of Peace, Po is chosen as the “Dragon Warrior,” the only one who can defeat Tai Lung.
In a review by Empire, they commended the film’s visuals and action sequences saying, “Rudimentary plot and merely decent gags aside, this is the finest DreamWorks Animation effort since the first Shrek, chiefly because of its astonishing visuals and kinetic kung fu sequences.”
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a 2014 American superhero film based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. It is the fifth theatrical Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film and the first in the reboot series. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman and written by Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, and Evan Daugherty, the film stars Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Danny Woodburn, Abby Elliott, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, and Alan Ritchson, as well as the voices of Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shalhoub. It features Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael, and their rodent sensei, Splinter, as they stand against evil Shredder as he terrorizes New York City. With the help of reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) and her cameraman (Will Arnett), the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles set out to save the city. Common Sense Media published a review of the film and wrote, “Tweens and teens are likely to enjoy this fun live-action reboot.”
Kubo and the Two Strings
Another film featuring great animation style and a fight against evil is the 2016 American stop-motion animated action fantasy film Kubo and the Two Strings, directed by Travis Knight (in his feature directorial debut) and produced by animation studio Laika. It stars Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Brenda Vaccaro, Rooney Mara, and Matthew McConaughey. The movie Kubo and the Two Strings is set in a mythical ancient Japan and follows the story of Kubo, a young boy who must find a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat raiders from the spirit world who are after his other eye. On his journey, Kubo is helped by a monkey and a beetle who come to life from origami animals created by his mother. Together, they must battle giant monsters, ghosts, and an evil spirit called the Moon King. With stunning visuals and an engaging story, Kubo and the Two Strings is a must-see for fans of animated movies.
Rolling Stone gave a five-star review of the film praising its theme portrayal, saying, “If the emphasis on the importance of memories, family, and hope, and the power of storytelling, doesn’t feel like it’s approaching the profundity of Pixar’s life lessons, the way the movie turns its familiar family-friendly elements into something fresh and vibrant puts the movie near Pantheon levels of accomplishment. The animation feels like a reinvention. Everything else feels like a spot-on refinement.”
Puss in Boots
The film Paws of Fury featured lovable feline characters and a charming dog protagonist. In the 2011 animated movie Puss in Boots produced by Dreamworks, you’ll definitely be swept into awe with Puss in Boots’ innocent and cute eyes. The movie is a spin-off of the Shrek franchise and follows the origin story of Puss in Boots. The movie stars Antonio Banderas as the voice of Puss in Boots and features an all-star cast including Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris, and Constance Marie. Puss in Boots is a heroic feline warrior in the movie who sets out on a quest to help his human friend, Humpty Dumpty, recover a stolen golden egg. Along the way, Puss must face off against some challenging opponents, including the notorious Jack and Jill. With its mix of action, comedy, and adventure, Puss in Boots is a fun-filled movie the whole family will enjoy.
The New York Times commended the film’s visuals and wrote, “it is a cheerfully chaotic jumble of fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters parachuted into a Spanish storybook setting. It also looks brighter, with a lot more visual pizzazz than the “Shrek” films. Even when the story loses its thread, the movie rewards your eye.
Mulan is a 1998 animated movie produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation. The plot takes place in China during the Han dynasty, where Fa Mulan, the daughter of an aged warrior, impersonates a man to take her father’s place during a general conscription to counter a Hun invasion. Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft directed the movie, with a story by Robert D. San Souci and a screenplay by Rita Hsiao, Chris Sanders, Philip LaZebnik, Raymond Singer, and Eugenia Bostwick-Singer. Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, Miguel Ferrer, and BD Wong starred in the English version of the movie. The film was generally well-received by critics and was praised for its animation and musical score. Some of the training scenes in Paws of Fury have similarities with Mulan, and adding great songs with it makes it enjoyable to watch.
Washington Post reviewed the film commending its animation and storyline saying, “Gorgeously animated and stirringly told, Disney’s “Mulan” is a timeless story that will delight kids and divert adults with its sweeping scope, emotional intimacy, and screwball humor.”