Easy Park Vancouver

Movie Reviews

The Legend of Zorro

By patty jones

Publish Date: 27-Oct-2005

Starring Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Rufus Sewell. Rated PG. For showtimes, please see page 70

It’s pretty hard to do your job as a 19th-century Mexican superhero when your peeved wife threatens: “If you walk out that door you are not sleeping here tonight,” and then serves you divorce papers before you can get your spurs on. That’s right, the swashbucklingly slick The Legend of Zorro has all the somersaulting swordplay, wink-wink dialogue, and pretty people triumphing over ugly villains of its 1998 predecessor, The Mask of Zorro, but it throws some contemporary-vibed marital messiness into the tortilla soup.

The sequel’s story begins about 10 years later, in 1850, with the people of California poised to join the United States amid the rumblings of civil war. In the first of many Indiana Jones–style, hypercaffeinated action set pieces, the whip-snapping, rope-swinging Zorro (Antonio Banderas, plus his trusty stunt double) proves he’s still got game. He swipes back the hijacked votes from ugly outlaws lead by a freakishly menacing thug with a large cross branded into his unwashed cheek and an urgent need for dental bleaching. The people cheer, but back at the homestead, wife Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) tells her workaholic husband, “You don’t know your own son, and worse, he doesn’t know you.”

Anthony Hopkins’s sly-dog ele?gance as Zorro senior in the first film has been replaced by a precocious mini-Zorro in Joaquin (Adrian Alonso), the couple’s acrobatically inclined young son who doesn’t know his wuss daddy is really his idol, Zorro. It’s too bad Sir Anthony isn’t on hand, but Banderas and Zeta-Jones manage to carry over much of their playful, spicy chemistry from the original, Banderas again demonstrating his self-deprecating flair for physical comedy.

The two stars exert remarkable energy, but they’re undermined by a convoluted story—by screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Alias, The Island)—that doesn’t really matter. Turns out Ol’ Yeller-tooth is leashed to villainous French count Armand (Rufus Sewell), whose centuries-old Euro-trash brotherhood, the Knights of Aragon (or something like that), has fiendish plans, beginning with a plot to “launch a preemptive strike against Washington”. Director Martin Campbell (The Mask of Zorro, GoldenEye) bogs the pacing while Zorro and Elena sleuth out what the naughty knights are up to, and at two-hours-plus, the film comes close to inducing a siesta.

The retro-innocent, special-effects- free fun of the first Zorro still plays here. The undeniably appealing Banderas and Zeta-Jones are clearly having a good time scrapping and romping and parrying. And when, still clueless about his daddy’s secret occupation and seeing him take down four bad hombres, Joaquin asks: “Where’d you learn to do that?” and his father replies, “Prison changes a man, son,” it’s dryly funny. Still, you wish someone had taken a sharp blade to the script, slashing 30 pages and slicing a few Zs through some of that bambino-friendly PG humour.



Single of the Week - Sarah
Single of the Week - Sarah

I am        seeking
Zip/Postal Code