Paws of Fury: A Mel Brooks Moment for Paws of Fury!
The Legend of Hank is a computer-animated martial arts comedy film released in 2022 and directed by Rob Minkoff, Mark Koetsier, and Chris Bailey.
The screenplay, which was written by Ed Stone and Nate Hopper, is largely based on the 1974 Mel Brooks picture Blazing Saddles. Michael Cera, Ricky Gervais, Mel Brooks, George Takei, Aasif Mandvi, Gabriel Iglesias, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Yeoh, and Samuel L. Jackson lend their voices to the film.
Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies are planning to release Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank in theaters in the United States on July 15, 2022. The film’s premiere took place in Los Angeles on July 10, 2022, and will be released in theaters on July 15, 2022.
Hank, a down-on-his-luck dog, travels to a community of cats in need of a hero to protect them from Ika Chu’s nefarious scheme to destroy their village.
With former samurai Jimbo as his master, the underdog must become a samurai and join forces with the cats to rescue the day. The only issue is that they all dislike dogs.
- Hank, a foolish beagle who aspires to be a samurai, is portrayed by Michael Cera.
- Jimbo, Hank’s reluctant tuxedo cat sensei who trains him to become a samurai, is portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson.
- Ricky Gervais as Ika Chu, a hawkish Somali cat, in “The Office”
- Mel Brooks portrays Shogun, the compassionate British shorthair who rules Kakamucho, in the film.
- Ohga, portrayed by George Takei, is a muscular Manx cat who commands Ika Chu’s army.
- Gabriel Iglesias portrays Chuck, a clumsy calico cat; Djimon Hounsou portrays Sumo, a massive ginger cat.
- Michelle Yeoh as Yuki, a hopeful female Persian cat who is Emiko’s mother Kylie Kuioka as Emiko, a spunky young Persian cat who also desires to become a samurai.
- Aasif Mandvi as Ichiro, a lanky tuxedo cat; Cathy Shim as Little Mama, the grand dame of Kakamucho.
Paws of Fury Transforms a Mel Brooks Script Into an Archive of Asian Stereotypes
In Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, Michael Cera plays Hank, while Samuel L. Jackson plays Jimbo.
Flaming Saddles, published in 1974 and intended as a racial parody, got away with some problematic elements by today’s standards. Paws of Rage: The Legend of Hank transformed Flaming Saddles into an animated samurai film with talking animals.
However, the creatives at the eight (count ’em) distinct production companies appear to have lived under a rock for the past fifty years.
Unless, of course, they are so stupid as to believe that the idea will be less destructive if they replace all the characters with talking animals, which would not be surprising given the intellectual sloth and creative bankruptcy of every single decision in this picture.
There is no extrapolation here: Initially known as Flaming Samurai Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, and Alan Uger wrote the film’s screenplay.
The revision relocates the plot from the American frontier to a medieval Japan inhabited by cats. These cats ride horses since the filmmakers evidently did not consider this possibility.
The black sheriff from the original is now a beagle named Hank (Michael Cera) who, in a flashback to the Westside Story theme, desires to become a samurai since he is bullied at home by other dogs.
However, dogs are not permitted in Japan, and he is sentenced to death row. Ika Chu (Ricky Gervais), plotting to take control of Kakamucho Village, sends Hank there to assume the job of town samurai, well aware that the residents will force him out.
Instead, Jimbo (Samuel L. Jackson, effectively reprising his role from The protégé) teaches Hank to be the savior Kakamucho so sorely needs.