One year after the stampede, a mysterious killer named John Carver starts terrorizing the town to avenge the incident. He picks off those who were involved in the tragedy one by one. Together with Sheriff Nelson (played by Patrick Dempsey), Jessica and her friends realize that there is a more sinister holiday plan in motion, and they must identify the killer before they all become his latest victims.
Paws of Fury is a decent enough Blazing Saddles update
Iconic seventies comedy Blazing Saddles gets somewhat of an animated update in Paramount Pictures, Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank. Chris Bailey, Mark Koetsier, and Rob Minoff share directing duties. At the same time, Ed Stone and Nate Hopper pen the screenplay. Additionally, since the film lifts the plot and various jokes from Blazing Saddles, the writers of that film also get screenwriting credit.
A hard-on-his-luck hound Hank (Michael Cera), finds himself in a town full of cats who need a hero to defend them from the ruthless villain Ika Chu’s (Ricky Gervais) evil plot to wipe their village off the map. With help from a reluctant teacher named Jimbo (Samuel L. Jackson) to train him, our underdog must assume the role of town samurai and team up with the villagers to save the day. The only problem, cats hate dogs.
There is a reason why Blazing Saddles ranks sixth on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs, a list of the top 100 funniest movies in American cinema. The gags come in so fast that you’re so busy laughing at one you may miss the next joke. Thus any creative who attempts to redo the material has a huge undertaking. While it was before my time, the less said about the failed television pilot Black Bart, the better.
Thankfully the creative team behind Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank has the input of Blazing Saddles director Mel Brooks serves as an executive producer and voices the character Toshi, an empathetic British shorthair who is the shōgun of Kakamucho. In hindsight, that character is essentially a variation of Brooks’ roles as Gov. William J. Le Petomane from Blazing Saddles.
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank was initially due to arrive in theaters in 2017 but got stuck in development hell. In contrast, this was before the COVID pandemic, but a delay like that could mean a stinker. However, the team behind Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank never allows the film to overstay its welcome. The actors deliver solid voice work, and the martial arts scenes are impressive considering the film’s budget.
While I doubt that I will ever revisit Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, I can mildly recommend the film for a quick time waster on a hot summer day. Kids will enjoy the animation, while parents will have fun with the grown-up hysterics.
Final Grade: C +
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is in theaters now and will release on Paramount+ around September 5, 2022.
More to explorer
Rising filmmaker Sky Directs taps into the hood filmmaking guide for his debut feature, Run Nixon. The director also edits the film and pens the screenplay with Michelle Vital. Dre, played by Lil’ Fizz, is a father who faces a race against time to save his son Nixon, played by Emperor Kaioyus.
DISCLAIMER: Before I delve into my review, I’d like to address a point that some historians have raised about the accuracy of certain events portrayed in the movie. For example, some have questioned the depiction of the battle at the Pyramids of Giza and Marie Antoinette’s appearance at her execution. While these critiques are worth noting, it’s essential to remember that historical movies often take creative liberties to make the story more engaging for the audience.