Samuel L. Jackson is one of those actors who’s pretty done it all. He’s played a hero and villain, both grounded and bonkers, plus so many other roles in the spaces in-between. It’s a reality that makes the next film on Jackson's ever busy schedule even more exciting, as Jackson is lending his golden voice to Jimbo, a samurai cat at the heart of Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank. If you thought you were excited about this prospect, then the freshly debuted trailer has you beat, as Sam himself looks pretty jazzed himself.
At the head of an even more impressive ensemble featured in this first footage from Paramount, Samuel L. Jackson’s Jimbo is a sage source of wisdom. Which is perfect, as underdog/actual dog Hank (Michael Cera) needs some help in training to become a samurai. Trying to defend his village from certain doom, you might think Hank’s story sounds familiar; and you’d be right. As it turns out, there’s actually two different movies Paws of Fury takes its cues from.
The first, and most obvious influence on this animated adventure is co-writer/director Akira Kurosawa’s seminal masterpiece Seven Samurai. Credited with influencing films such as The Magnificent Seven and even Disney/Pixar’s A Bug’s Life, the basic structure of Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is the latest plot to borrow from that cultural touchstone. Which means that there’s room for a pretty stacked cast that also includes George Takei, Ricky Gervais, Michelle Yeoh, and Mel Brooks; among others.
As fate would have it, Brooks’ casting in this film connects to the other movie Paws of Fury can call an inspiration. Originally titled Blazing Samurai, the long developing comedy has consistently been cited as a loose remake of 1974’s Blazing Saddles. Though the title may have changed, the trailer above has a loving homage to this scene ripped from Mel Brooks’ comedy classic that all but confirms its lineage:
Explosive farts, followed by a PG-rated tip of the hat to Samuel L. Jackson’s record-setting swear sessions of the past. What hasn’t Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank given us in this moment, besides a sly reference to when Jackson's Nick Fury lost his eye to a "cat" in Captain Marvel? Well, the trailer does leave one more very specific question hanging in the air, and it’s completely by coincidence: does this count as one of the multiverses from Michelle Yeoh’s mind meltingly awesome Everything Everywhere All At Once? Totally asking for a friend, who just happens to be myself.
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is ready to kick, punch, and laugh its way into theaters on July 15th. Yes, that means you’ve got a bit of a wait before this one hits the multiplex, but fear not. The upcoming movies rundown has a whole bunch of thrills that will be available in your quest to make that wait less brutal and more fun.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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