The minds behind Zorro decided to make the masked man's latest escapade a family affair.
Throw in a precocious kid, a faux divorce and then you have a family film that will certainly entertain the kids, but will leave the parents bored from predictability.
There's little left to the imagination in this The Legend of Zorro, which picks up approximately nine years after The Mask of Zorro ended and Don Alejandro de la Vega, aka Zorro (Antonio Banderas), is feeling conflicted and receiving pressure from his wife, Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones), to hang up the mask and give up his crime-fighting ways. She's eager to do crazy things such as travel and spend some of the cash she has. In short: She wants a life.
But his alter-ego has other plans. California is on the verge of achieving statehood and there's nothing initially unknown parties wouldn't do to upend those plans. He feels an obligation to stick it out until his territory becomes a state. As for de la Vega's son, Joaquin (Adrian Alonso), he worships the ground Zorro walks on, only he doesn't know, for his own protection, that the masked hero is his father. That leaves him feeling more than a wee bit depressed.
Nor is young Joaquin aware that his life is about to be ripped apart when Elena suddenly divorces his father, throwing dad into a drunken tizzy. Soon after, Elena, for some inexplicable reason, takes up with an old love, Armand (Rufus Sewell), which sends Alejandro reeling.
Of course the divorce and renewed romance is a sham and it's very thinly disguised. It turns out that Elena has been blackmailed by Pinkerton agents, the bureau that preceded the Secret Service in service to the presidency, to try to get something -- anything -- linking Armand to the conspiracy to halt California's statehood.
Of course, for Armand to do this there has to be some sort of super duper powerful weapon involved and sure enough, he's developed nitroglycerin and plans to sell trainloads of the stuff to the Confederate Army.
The Legend of Zorro offers plenty of action and not a lot of believability. If that's what you're in the mood for, this one is for you.
You can't fault Banderas and Zeta-Jones for taking a shot for some easy money with this sequel, and at least they throw themselves into and look as if they're genuinely having some fun. But many in the audience will find this one a mirthless misadventure.