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Paws Of Fury Reviews Are Online, Check Out What Critics Are Saying About The Animated Michael Cera Movie

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Summer is in full swing at the box office, and another family friendly option is set to hit theaters this week with Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank. Boasting an impressive cast that includes Michael Cera as the titular Hank, Paws of Fury is the story about a dog who travels to a town full of cats who are in need of a hero to save them from the warmongering Ika Chu (Ricky Gervais). Reviews are in, so let’s see what the critics have to say about this offering from Paramount.

Loosely based on the 1974 Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles, the PG-rated Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is completely safe for the little ones, even with its “mother-father-cocker-spaniel” exclamation from Samuel L. Jackson’s Jimbo. This flick appears to be jam-packed with pop culture references, and the critics are here to tell us more of what to expect. Let’s start with the CinemaBlend review of Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank. Dirk Libbey rates the movie 2 stars out of 5, saying while the concept is creative enough, the jokes and references often feel like they’re geared more toward adults:

This leaves the kids with some slapstick humor, and every imaginable joke about cats. That will still elicit laughs from viewers of all ages, but the Blazing Saddles references and the rapid fire delivery of many of the one-liners give Paws of Fury a feeling like it was meant to be an animated movie for adults that younger viewers also might enjoy – rather than the other way around.

Katie Walsh of The Wrap, however, thinks the movie pulled off a good balance between entertaining kids and their parents, even saying Paws of Fury makes an argument for more classics-inspired family films. The movie lacks any semblance of depth, but there are worse ways to spend a hot summer day, this review states:

One could do a whole lot worse for an afternoon at the movies with the kids, or even on repeat at home. Hitting that sweet spot between silly and smart, this movie should delight movie-nerd parents and kids who have a taste for more action-packed absurdism.

Owen Gleiberman of Variety says along with Blazing Saddles, the Michael Cera film also evokes the spirit of Kung Fu Panda. However, this movie lacks what made those movies great, and Paws of Fury is neither fun nor funny, he says:

Paws of Fury is an efficient yet underimagined animated fable that barely musters the flavor of a cliché Western comedy. Mel Brooks, who is one of the film’s executive producers, has a voice role — he’s the Shogun, who says things like ‘There’s no business like Shogun business.’ One wants to cut the great Mel, who’s 96, some slack, but that’s a line your grandfather probably wouldn’t have laughed at, and too much of the humor in Paws of Fury is like that. The jokes get coughed up and sit there, like furballs on the carpet.

Like the other critics, Frank Scheck of THR says adult chaperones might get a kick out of the myriad pop culture references. However, the movie doesn’t offer much more for its audience than bathroom jokes, proving that vulgar humor will score laughs regardless of decade or target audience, the review states:

This movie certainly doesn’t shy away from vulgarity, taking the idea of ‘toilet humor’ all too literally with its far too many gags regarding a giant jade toilet and numerous bodily functions that tykes (of all ages) seem to find uproariously funny. You can rest assured knowing that Blazing Saddles’ famous campfire scene, with the addition of bursts of flame, is given its due animated treatment.

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank garnered a grade of F from Martin Tsai of AV Club. He says the movie takes Mel Brooks’ controversial racial satire and pumps it full of Asian clichés. Even more, it seems the filmmakers made little or no attempt to educate themselves on Asian culture, this review says:

Even in a cartoon, someone like Hank being oppressed in some exotic land is exactly the kind of toxic online strawman that is morally reprehensible for a studio to turn that into a motion picture in 2022. But by failing to exhibit any trace of affinity or reverence to Asian culture, martial arts or any of its narrative touchpoints, Paws Of Fury also exemplifies the worst kind of cultural appropriation. There’s no consultant listed in the credits, nor is there evidence that any research of that sort went into the screenplay or the animation.

It’s an interesting idea to use a comedy like Blazing Saddles as inspiration for a children’s animated movie, but it looks like most of the critics think the execution was lacking. However, audiences should always feel free to judge for themselves, and the movies are often a great way to escape the summer heat with the kids. If you want to check out Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, you can do so starting Friday, July 15. Be sure to also check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to see what other films are hitting theaters soon.

Heidi Venable
Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.