Producers: Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes,
Written by: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Giovanna Zacarías,
Raúl Méndez, Mary Crosby, Catherine Zeta-Jones,
Alexa Benedetti, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Rufus Sewell,
It’s great to see a woman with a sword in her hand, especially
when she knows how to use one. But it’s not enough to save
Catherine Zeta-Jones from drowning in an underwhelming
Seven years ago, director Martin Campbell brought
audiences a fun-filled action/adventure/romantic comedy that worked
on almost every level. The Mask Of Zorro was terrific and
a fine standout in a genre that often fails due to a lack of finesse
at maintaining the right tone and momentum. In the long-anticipated
sequel, The Legend Of Zorro, the same creative team led
by Campbell is back, except that the original film’s writers,
Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio,
were not credited with the screenplay. And unfortunately, the new
guys who were brought in, Alex Kurtzman and Robert
Orci, just can’t get it right. The story is so convoluted
that by the end of the film you are breathing a sigh of relief that
Zorro’s figure is emblazened on the screen, riding off into
Ten years have passed in the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Don Alejandro
de la Vega, and all is not satisfactory in Camelot. Mrs. Vega (played
to sassy perfection by the lovely Zeta-Jones) is upset that her
husband (Banderas) and his swashbuckling nightlife
always seem to interfere with their quality family time. They have
a 9-year-old son who wonders where his father goes at night, completely
unaware that he is crossing swords with the detritus of society
in 1860s California. California is anxiously waiting to become an
official member of the United States, and the film begins with the
introduction of a new bad guy, equipped with a painfully large scar
in the shape of a crucifix on his right cheek. A fight ensues between
Zorro (always ready to come to the town’s rescue) and this
nasty fellow. Of course, as predictability would allow, it turns
out that this guy works for the town’s newest millionaire,
a handsome duke from Eastern Europe, appropriately named Armand
(Sewell). Sewell is always fun to watch as a bad
guy, and despite the fact that his accent falters, revealing his
British origins (he’s from Wales), he makes a decent nemesis
for Zorro. Banderas is a joy to watch, as always, but he seems tired
in the role.
The writers clearly stole the plot from Alfred Hitchcock’s
masterpiece Notorious (I won’t repeat it for you
here), and then tacked on a lot of nonsensical hooey. The two-hour
running time is peppered with excessively long, silly fight scenes
and a young boy who can do all the stunts his father can, despite
having no clue that Zorro is his father. The son, named Joaquin
(Alonso) is cute enough, but it is preposterous
to believe that a 9-year-old can fly through the air like Batman.
And a horse smoking a pipe? The faithful Tornado is back and, yes,
he’s a horse with a good sense of humor, but getting drunk
with Zorro and stealing a few puffs take the punchiness too far.
The whole film plays out like a cartoon, fine for kids under 13,
but not nearly sophisticated enough in its language and execution
for any adult with a sense of wit. Not a hopeless effort, but one
that falls far short of its predecessor.
—Tiffany Crouch Bartlett
Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.
Itís worth a full-price ticket.
Itís worth a matinee ticket.
Wait for video rental.
Check out the video from the library, if you must.
While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...