Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank parents guide

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank Parent Guide

With jokes pitched at kids, and a torrent of film references inserted for adults, this suffers from tonal whiplash.

Overall B

Theaters: Hank is a dog with dreams of becoming a samurai warrior. With a town full of cats who need to be protected from an evil villain, Hank persuades a master to teach him how to save the village.

Release date July 15, 2022

Violence B-
Sexual Content A
Profanity A
Substance Use B-

Why is Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank rated PG? The MPAA rated Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank PG for action, violence, rude and suggestive humor, and some language

Run Time: 97 minutes

Parent Movie Review

In a mighty kingdom of cats, the devious Ika Chu (voiced by Ricky Gervais) is scrambling to prepare his palace for a visit from the Shogun (Mel Brooks). To make a good impression, he’s pulled out all the stops, not least of which is a giant jade toilet. Only one thing stands in the way of his vision of perfection: the little village of Kakamucho. Luckily for Ika Chu, Kakamucho has recently lost its samurai, thus creating an opportunity for Ika Chu to assign an incompetent replacement, someone who will never stand up to his plans to wipe the village off the map.

Hank (Michael Cera) was scheduled for execution for being a dog in cat territory, but instead finds himself bound for Kakamucho with some brand new bona fides and a sword - there’s a new sheriff in town. The only problem is that Hank hasn’t had a day’s samurai training in his life. Maybe with the help of retired samurai Jimbo (Samuel L. Jackson), Hank could make a go of protecting the town – if he can learn fast.

If the synopsis didn’t make it clear, this is Blazing Saddlesin Kung Fu Panda drag, which is a very odd little niche. On one hand, Mel Brooks co-writes the screenplay, and the Blazing Saddles influences are blatantly obvious. On the other hand, this is a PG-rated movie for kids who under no circumstances should watch Blazing Saddles. You might think that this stacks up somewhere alongside Shrek, which packed a kids’ movie with adult humor for the parents in the room, but Paws of Fury doesn’t have such ambitious goals. The humor is almost entirely pitched at the kids. The only thing slipped in for parents are torrential references to other films – Yojimbo, West Side Story, The Magnificent Seven, Mission Impossible, Jurassic Park, and Godzilla were some of the ones I noticed.

The film also seems to have been constructed without a fourth wall, as characters consistently address the audience directly or comment on aspects of filmmaking. At one point, a character falls straight through the screen and into a crowded theater. While consistent with the Blazing Saddles vibes, I’m not sure this works as well in a film for a much younger audience. The kids sitting behind me in the theater seemed more confused than entertained, and their parents didn’t seem to be having any more fun than their offspring.

I don’t want to sound like I’m ripping on Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, since there is a lot of potential here. An outstanding voice cast and some very creative animation direction do bring some life to the picture, but the film struggles to find a consistent tone suitable for its audience. If you want to judge for yourself, though, there are almost no serious content concerns, so if your kids are just dying to see it, you shouldn’t have any big problems – beyond the tonal whiplash, that is.

Directed by Mark Koetsier, Rob Minkoff, Chris Bailey. Starring Michael Cera, Michelle Yeoh, Samuel L Jackson, Mel Brooks. Running time: 97 minutes. Theatrical release July 15, 2022. Updated

Watch the trailer for Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank
Rating & Content Info

Why is Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank rated PG? Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is rated PG by the MPAA for action, violence, rude and suggestive humor, and some language

Violence: There are frequent scenes of slapstick violence and cartoonish injury. A character has an arrow shot through his hand.
Sexual Content: A cat is shown covering itself in a shower. There is a brief kiss. A cat’s backside is briefly visible in a sumo wrestling context.
Profanity: None.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Jimbo is depicted as an alcoholic of sorts, drinking copious amounts of catnip. A character drinks a martini.

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Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank Parents' Guide

What does Hank learn about being a samurai, apart from how to fight? How does Jimbo change his training once he realizes that he can’t make Hank something he isn’t? How does that help Hank? How does Hank’s pride in his accomplishments hurt him later on? What does he learn about humility?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Younger viewers who like the cartoonish martial arts will also enjoy Kung Fu Panda, Kung Fu Panda 2,Kung Fu Panda 3, The LEGO Ninjago Movie, Mulan, The Karate Kid (or the 2010 remake of the same name), and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.