The Legend of Zorro (PG)
|I give you my sword: Antonio Banderas picks up his weapon from where he left off in The Mask of Zorro to become a legend|
If masked avenger Zorro was around today, he'd be up before the courts on tagging' charges. You just can't go around leaving your moniker on walls, tree stumps and people's clothes, even if you do use a sword rather than a can of spray-paint.
Lucky then that the swordsman lived in Mexico-controlled California at the start of the last century.
The legend first appeared as a serialised novel, The Curse of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley, in the pulp magazine All-Story Weekly in 1919.
McCulley didn't have a clue how successful his creation would be, so at the end of the story, Zorro's identity, landowner Don Diego de la Vega, is revealed to all.
The author soon had to make Don Diego's neighbours a rather forgetful lot, because the release of The Mark of Zorro, starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr, the following year forced him to write more.
Countless Zorro films followed, either concentrating on the man who began the legend or one of his relatives who decided to take on the mask. So, there was 1947's Son Of Zorro, and 1949's Ghost of Zorro.
The Mask of Zorro, released in 1998, fell into the last camp. The original Zorro, played by Anthony Hopkins, trains a new Zorro (the more likely Antonio Banderas) to take his place. Much swashbuckling and derring-do ensues.
It was a huge success, and this Friday sees the UK release of its sequel, The Legend of Zorro. Now Banderas' Alejandro de la Vega is ready to hang up the mask himself and enjoy some domestic bliss with wife Elena played by Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Unfortunately there are forces, led by the urbane but ruthless Armand, who do not want California to become part of the US, and soon Alejandro is putting on the mask and cape and making Z' shapes with his sword all over the place.
The Mask of Zorro retained an old-fashioned Saturday morning cinema-type feel to its action, and the remake promises just as many swashes to be buckled.
Banderas plays the role with his tongue so firmly in his cheek he's lucky he doesn't break the skin, and Zeta-Jones is a spirited sidekick.
4:14pm Wednesday 26th October 2005Print