a child, there is only one hero that precedes my worship
of all things Indiana Jones, and that hero is Zorro. Imagine
the disappointment when Mask of Zorro hit the screens
and suddenly a childhood hero was transformed into nothing
more than mere summer blockbuster fodder.
the trappings of that film would be petty this far removed
in the game, but needless to say, Legend of Zorro
rights a great deal of the wrongs of its predecessor.
Martin Campbell re-assembles, essentially, the same team
that birthed the first film of the Banderas-era Zorro, but
with much greater effect in this installment. Once again,
Antonio Banderas dons the mask as Don Alejandro de la Vega,
and Catherine Zeta-Jones returns as his feisty yet loving
wife Elena de la Vega.
we have primarily the same cast and crew on both sides of
the camera, but somehow we end up with a film that feels
far more in keeping with the legend of our titular character.
Helping to establish this is the class tension that subtly
defined the original character and his world. Don Diego,
hero to the working class, folk legend and defender of the
common man, was constantly at odds with villains with whom
he was often forced to rub elbows as a member of the elite
issue, a primary conflict essential to the canon, is not
only injected into Legend of Zorro, but made all
the more complex by Don Alejandro’s struggles to play
“hero to all” while remaining a father and doting
husband alike. We rejoin the de la Vega family ten years
after the previous film. With California on the verge of
voting to join the union, Zorro has never been busier defending
Alejandro’s days in the mask are numbered, we learn,
as he is bound to uphold a promise to hang it up. Elena
is concerned that Zorro has been impeding with Alejandro’s
ability to play father to their son Joaquin.
would expect, Joaquin is kept in the dark regarding his
father’s alter ego, even though he worships the Zorro
figure and everything he represents.
wouldn’t be “Zorro” without action set
pieces, and in this regard Legend of Zorro is no
different than Mask of Zorro. We are still delivered
the somewhat stilted action sequences, laced with sub-par
effects and rather ho-hum staging. However, in one or two
specific sequences, the action manages to refrain from upstaging
the message at hand while still being entertaining. One
might even venture to call it rousing..
quandaries mount when Don Alejandro’s refusal to let
go of his alter ego couples with a mask mishap during an
attempt to steal ballot boxes in an attempt to sway California
away from the union. With his marriage on the rocks, Alejandro
turns to drinking, and finds himself at the bottom of the
barrel, divorced, and ironically, unneeded as Zorro.
Elena becomes romantically entangled with a French suitor
named Armand (Rufus Sewell), Alejandro becomes determined
to get to the bottom of the situation. These moments all
sound cheesy and contrived, and it would be wrong to argue
otherwise. However, Legend of Zorro still manages
to produce a film that is, to say the least, entertaining
leave an audience cheering for more.