“Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank” – A Blazing Saddles reimagining – Movie Review by Ana Sofía Cintrón (@Ana_Sofia53). #PawsOfFury #TheLegendOfHank
Hollywood these days can come up with just about anything. However, an animated version of the iconic western spoof, Blazing Saddles, wasn’t on my 2022 bingo card. Originally titled Blazing Samurai, Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is loosely based on Mel Brook’s 1976 movie. Heck! Even Brooks himself was involved in this project and has credit as a voice actor. To be completely honest, this film flew under my radar, but surprisingly this had a decade’s worth of production; and after many years, this movie found a home in Paramount Pictures.
What exactly is Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank about? It tells the story of a hard-on-his-luck hound, Hank (Michael Cera), who finds himself in a town full of cats who need a hero to defend them from a ruthless villain’s 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 is, cats hate dogs!
This reimagining of the western spoof takes what used to be a satire and dilutes it down to a kids’ movie. Of course, they rearrange the scenarios a bit to make it more friendly, but the essence is still there. There’s a self-aware aura that this film radiates, and they definitely take advantage of it. Get ready to be hit with a lot of slapstick humor and a little sprinkle of toilet humor; literally, there’s a big kitty litter shaped as a toilet. Being targeted as a family viewing, the adults aren’t left behind. There are a lot of pop culture references and fourth wall breaking that only the parents will get a kick off. They also borrow jokes from Blazing Saddles for that homage touch; expect a lot of beans and farts.
Storywise, it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Our main character is an underdog who wants to be a samurai, but is looked down upon because he’s different. He finds a master that trains him, and we tag along the hero’s journey into becoming the ultimate samurai. There’s sumo cats, swords, catnip that resembles alcohol, and we couldn’t forget the ol’ Karate Kid workout montage. Without going into too much depth, I think you already know how this ends. However, as the audience, we have to remember that at the end of the day Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is mainly targeted for kids. Behind all the fart jokes and goofiness, there was a sweet lesson about acceptance.