Dog in a cat fight
With its derivative script and tasteless humor, Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank will be soon forgotten
All the characters in Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, which takes place in feudal Japan, are cats. All except Hank—a dog who shows up on the island nation with the goal of becoming a samurai. The xenophobic cats aren’t happy about it.
Hank gets caught up in a conspiracy, and the thoroughly inept dog finds himself the protector of a village that’s under attack from the evil warlord Ika Chu. A grizzled former samurai named Jimbo decides to train Hank and show him what it takes to be a hero.
The movie pretends to teach viewers a lesson about prejudice, but there’s not much to this thin, uninspiring story. Paws of Fury plods through the genre’s necessary plot points with an irritating self-awareness of its own unoriginality. Winking at the cliché doesn’t make the cliché fresh.
At times Paws of Fury feels like little more than a collection of cat jokes shoehorned into a martial arts film, but the jokes cause more eye rolling than laughter. The movie is rated PG for action, violence, rude and suggestive humor, and some language. Many scenes cross the boundary of good taste. The scatological humor is relentless, and Jimbo’s catnip drunkenness winks at alcoholism. Samuel L. Jackson, who voices Jimbo, has a notoriously foul mouth, and the script lets him substitute “mother-father” and “fudge” for his favorite obscenities.
British comedian Ricky Gervais was fun as the villainous Ika Chu, but there wasn’t much else legendary in this unremarkable story.
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