Mr. Magoo was a series of cartoon shorts created in 1949 featuring the misadventures of Quincy Magoo (voiced by Gilligan’s Island star Jim Backus), whose incredibly poor vision put him in all kinds of slapstick misunderstandings, with Magoo completely oblivious to what was really happening. Over the years, Magoo has appeared in various TV series, holiday specials, and movies (including a dreadful live-action film starring Leslie Nielsen). The latest incarnation is 2010’s Kung Fu Magoo, which has Mr. Magoo (Jim Conroy) sharing a home with his nephew Justin (Dylan Sprouse), who mostly rolls his eyes at his uncle’s nearsighted antics.
After inadvertently saving a busload of students from a robotic villain, Mr. Magoo is labeled a hero and recruited by the government to infiltrate Bad Bad Island, with Justin and Mr. Magoo’s dog McBarker along for the trip. Bad Bad Island is led by the sinister Tan Gu (Lloyd Floyd), who is holding the Evilympics, where the toughest supervillains compete in events such as building doomsday devices, battling giant spider robots, and yes, knuckle cracking. Also competing is Justin’s hero, action movie star Cole Fusion (Chris Parnell), who’s there to prove he’s more than just another pretty face.
Despite the film’s title, we don’t get a lot of kung fu fighting from Mr. Magoo. (He gets his moniker because someone thinks he’s striking a Karate Kid-like crane pose while tangled in fishing line.) However, the film makes up for this by providing non-stop action throughout, mostly thanks to the Evilympics events and several chase sequences involving Magoo, Justin, and various pursuants. And while not every one of Magoo’s myopic misunderstandings is laugh-out-loud funny, several are truly hilarious.
A joint effort from DreamWorks Classics (formerly Classic Media) and Mexican-based Anima Estudios, Kung Fu Magoo maintains the spirit of the classic Mr. Magoo character within a contemporary, fast-paced, enjoyable film.
Is it suitable for your kids?Violence/Scariness: Cartoonish violence abounds (punching, knife-throwing, laser guns, rocket launchers, etc.); a boy bullies Justin on several occasions, mostly via water balloons.
Rude Humor: McBarker vomits over the side of a boat; a robot is kicked in the groin and self-destructs; a bird poops on Mr. Magoo’s head. Justin’s best friend in school is a poor Indian stereotype, with a thick accent and protruding teeth.
Language: “Jerk,” “freak,” “hotness,” “kicking butt”
Will your FilmMother want to watch it?She could do worse than having to sit through Kung Fu Magoo with your kids. It’s often exciting and intermittently funny. And if she’s a Gen-Xer or older, she might feel nostalgic seeing Mr. Magoo again.
“Um, Bob? You might wanna bring a deadlier weapon next time…”
Kung Fu Magoo
* Director: Andrés Couturier
* Screenwriters: Emmy Laybourne, Rob Sosin, Robert Mittenthal
* Stars: Jim Conroy, Lloyd Floyd, Dylan Sprouse, Cole Sprouse, Alyson Stoner, Tom Kenny, Chris Parnell, Rodger Bumpass, Maile Flanagan, Wally Wingert, Candi Milo
* MPAA Rating: N/A
Rent Kung Fu Magoo from Netflix >>