Devan Coggan
August 16, 2017 at 11:30 AM EDT

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And you think your family dinners are awkward.

In the upcoming LEGO NINJAGO Movie, Lloyd (Dave Franco) is a skilled teen ninja charged with defending his city from the evil warlord Garmadon (Justin Theroux). Or, as Lloyd knows him, Dad. Unlike most animated movies, where cast members record dialogue in isolation, the NINJAGO crew — which also includes Jackie Chan as the sensei Master Wu, Olivia Munn as Lloyd’s mom, and Michael Peña, Abbi Jacobson, Kumail Nanjiani, Zach Woods, and Fred Armisen as his fellow ninjas — riffed off one another to hilarious results.

“Everyone here is such an incredible improviser, and I remember just at one point sitting down and feeling like, I have nothing to contribute,” Franco says. “I want to be a fan and just watch.”

Warner Bros. Pictures

If The LEGO Movie was a surreal action-comedy and The LEGO Batman Movie was a superhero flick, NINJAGO is pure martial-arts extravaganza. (The filmmakers even brought in Chan’s stunt team to choreograph fight scenes.)

“There’s so much Asian cinema that’s in this, from martial-arts movies to ninja films, but it’s also big mechs and robots and anime stuff and monster-movie tropes,” says Charlie Bean, one of the film’s directors. “It’s a love letter to those types of movies.”

No one knows how to lock that in like LEGO.

The LEGO NINJAGO Movie hits theaters Sept. 22.

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