out of Five
Running time: 130
Not as good as the first film and hampered by some very poor comedy, but this is still a watchable adventure with likeable characters and a couple of decent action scenes.
Despite the unlikely casting of Anthony Hopkins as Zorro Snr, 1998’s The Mask of Zorro
turned out to be everything a Zorro movie ought to be. It had great action sequences, terrific swordfights, a smart sense of humour and sizzling chemistry between its two stars, Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta Jones. Inevitably, the long-awaited sequel is something of a disappointment in comparison, but it still just about manages to buckle the old swash.
The film is set in 1850, ten years after the events of The Mask of Zorro, with California on the brink of entering the Union as the 31st State.
Alejandro de la Vega (Antonio Banderas) is still swashbuckling as Zorro, much to the consternation of his feisty wife Elena (Catherine Zeta Jones), particularly now they have a ten year old son, Joaquin (Adrian Alonso), to look after.
After a nasty argument, Elena appears to seek solace in the arms of a dastardly Frenchman, Armand (Rufus Sewell). However, that’s the least of Alejandro’s problems, as he soon uncovers a sinister plot that threatens the lives of his family and friends, to say nothing of California’s imminent Statehood.
Antonio Banderas is (whisper it) getting a little to old to be swashbuckling these days, but he still puts in a committed performance. Similarly, Catherine Zeta Jones has had eight years to perfect her Spanish accent and she still hasn’t managed it, with the result that it wobbles around all over the place.
Unfortunately, the chemistry between Banderas and Zeta Jones seems to have disappeared and their over-enthusiastic kissing scenes seem more laughable than romantic this time round.
Initially, the presence of a Zorro Jnr seems like a terrible idea, but Adrian Alonso proves a surprisingly likeable child actor and his scenes are actually quite funny. We can probably expect a Son of Zorro movie in the not too distant future. There’s also strong support from Sewell (all he’s lacking is a moustache to twirl) and from Nick Chinlund as Armand’s evil henchman.
In short, The Legend of Zorro is camper than it should have been and is at least 20 minutes too long, but it’s still an entertaining adventure movie, even if it never hits the heights of the first film.