Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank

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Not suitable under 8; parental guidance to 10 (violence, themes, language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank
  • a review of Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 13 September 2022.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to violence, language and themes.
Children aged 8–10 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, language and themes.
Children over the age of 10 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and animated violence
Length: 102 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

After being rescued by a samurai as a child, canine Hank (voice of Michael Cera) dreams of becoming a samurai himself and, in order to train to become one, he travels to a kingdom ruled and occupied by cats. Unaware of the deep-seated prejudice, suspicion and hatred towards dogs, Hank finds himself thrown in prison while awaiting execution. Tasked with the responsibility of finding a replacement samurai for the nearby village of Kakamucho, the evil Ika Cha (voice of Ricky Gervais) secretly hopes to wipe the village off the map and comes up with a plot to give the village the worst samurai possible, thereby ensuring their death and demise. Ika Cha bestows the title of Samurai upon Hank moments before he is to be killed and sends him to what he hopes will be an alternate death as well as an end to his problem of what to do about the village. Unfortunately for Ika Cha, young Emiko (voice of Kylie Kuioka) intervenes and stops everyone from harming Hank. At a loss for what he is supposed to do, Hank enlists the help of the legendary, yet disgraced, Samurai Jimbo (voice of Samuel L. Jackson), whose guidance enables Hank to face the giant Sumo (voice of Djimon Hounsou), fierce bandits, and armies of ninjas, all sent to destroy the village. However, winning the adulation of the villagers isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and, with Ika Cha consistently plotting the demise of Hank and the town, they must all work together to defeat the ultimate invasion meant to destroy everyone and everything in Kakamucho.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

War; Greed and the destructive forces of extremes of wealth and power; Shame; Persecution due to differences of appearance; Bullying; Ignoring the voice of reason and wisdom because it comes out of the mouth of a child.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • There is lots of hitting, punching, kicking and the shooting of arrows in a flashback fight scene.
  • Ika Cha knocks a bowl out of someone’s arms; purposefully spills paint on a guy’s head; shoves someone over a banister; and destroys curtains and chairs with his claws, all the while talking about how he intends to wipe Kakamucho off the map.
  • An aggressive group of bandits attack a village: destroying homes, shooting flaming arrows into a firework tower and throwing metal stars at an elderly.
  • Hank is told that he will be executed and that there are lots of prisoners to kill. He stands before a line of archers who begin to shoot him. He is saved at the last second when an arrow goes through the hand of a guard.
  • A character looks down the barrel of a gun and is told that guns don’t kill cats. Cars and curiosity do that.
  • The village people agree to kill Hank and attempt to attack him en masse. He tries to escape but is smashed in the face with a wok and rendered unconscious.
  • One character asks another: “Why can’t people kill someone just because they look different?”
  • The villagers fight bandits in the streets as their town is, once again, set upon. There is throwing, fighting, hitting and chasing, and two men repeatedly punch an old cat in the face.
  • Hank hits his head on a pole as a band of dog bullies repeatedly punch him, hit him and hang him upside down.
  • A sword is thrown at a character’s neck and pins them to a wall by their clothes.
  • Another character gets a fork stabbed into their foot.
  • Jimbo repeatedly smacks Hank in the face with a wooden pole.
  • Hank smashes himself into a cliff, shoots an arrow into Jimbo's shoulder, burns his hand and falls into a river.
  • A training machine repeatedly hits, punches, whacks and throws Hank into a boulder.
  • Jimbo recounts an event where catnip was poured on a fire and it exploded; party goers were injured and a little cat is shown lying face down in a cake.
  • After a sculptor accidentally causes part of a statue to fall, he is shot by archers.
  • Sumo punches a horse in the face, causing numerous horses to fall down.
  • Sumo throws a piano out of a window and tries to crush numerous other cats, including Emiko.
  • Hank knocks himself out with a weapon.
  • Emiko goes after Sumo with a sword and slices off a patch of his stomach fur.
  • A doctor stabs needles into Sumo and later stabs needles into his own hand.
  • Flaming bottles are thrown into houses as the town is once again violently attacked. Sumo is covered with Ninjas as he attempts to defend the villagers while the town burns.
  • Jimbo and Hank sword fight an army of guard cats and one is punched in the face.
  • Jimbo stays to fight an entire army while Hank and Sumo try to save the village. Hank is under the impression they are resigning him to his death as hundreds of guards attack him.
  • Ika Cha amasses an army of serial killers, pirates and Vikings to destroy Kakamacho once and for all.
  • The villagers band together to fight the murderers and mercenaries. There is lots of kicking, shooting, punching, hitting, spitting, bashing and smashing. Needles are poked into an eye and a character is smashed in the face.
  • Hank and Ika Cha sword fight on the seat of a giant toilet until Ika Cha is sucked down.
  • When the toilet overflows it sends a flood of water towards the town, destroying all in its path.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Emiko’s little friends are washed away in a flood. Emiko tries to help them but is swept into the raging water herself. Everyone rushes to help as the kittens are sucked under the water. They are rescued at the last minute, much to the relief of their parents.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • There is a reference to Twitter, with ‘Tweets’ being sent as a form of communication.
  • Mentos are mentioned.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Jimbo makes reference to his in-laws having been spayed and neutered.
  • Hank is told that he looks hot and two girls ask him: “Who licks your hair?”

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • During a raid on the village a character is showering when bandits race through the house, destroying everything in their path and briefly exposing a naked cat who crouches down in the tub.
  • Hank’s robe falls off and the camera angle is shown from the rear view, between his legs. Everyone looks shocked as Hank says: “Eyes up here”.
  • Sumo wears the traditional sumo attire and while fighting Hank, he lands on him and must pull Hank out of his buttocks.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Jimbo appears to have a drinking problem. He occasionally seems intoxicated, and he brews and frequently consumes his own catnip drinks.
  • Milk and martinis are served in a bar.
  • Hank tells Jimbo that he can’t just hide in the bottom of a bottle when things get tough.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Idiot
  • Dummies
  • Brainless
  • Imbecile
  • Morons
  • Selfish idiot
  • Sucks.
  • A character tells another that he is, “a washed up loser who has no real friends”.
  • The film also contains crude humour, especially in relation to farts.

In a nutshell

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is an animated adventure aimed at children who are likely to appreciate the crude humour and slapstick violence. Due to the frequent violence, themes and name calling, the film is not suited to younger viewers and will be more appropriate for slightly older children, with parental guidance recommended to 10.

The main messages from this movie are that fear is in your mind, you must control it or it will control you; and that it doesn’t matter if someone is different, differences should be celebrated instead of segregated as there is much to be learned from others and other ways of doing things.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Teamwork
  • Determination
  • Persistence
  • Courage
  • Tolerance.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Believing that others should ‘go back to where they came from’ or be persecuted for being different.
  • Being greedy, self-centred and only concerned with what you want and what will benefit you.
  • The dangers of drinking too much.
  • Refusing to listen to children even if what they say is wise.
  • Bullying others and the notion that violence can solve conflict.