November 5, 2005

Movie Review: The Legend of Zorro

Seven years later we learn that Zorro still rides, that he has since married his love and had a son. We also learn that he is having problems giving up the mask. He must search himself to find who he truly is, a family man or a hero of the people?

Along the road of self discovery he must defeat the plans of evildoers who wish to break up the growing United States by supplying the south with powerful explosives. Not to mention keeping an eye on his rambunctious son and his former wife. Zorro must protect his identity from those seeking him harm, while also trying to put his family back together.

The story is a bit of a mess. It suffers from trying to be simultaneously epic and personal, and failing to mesh two sides all that well. Plus there are odd tones throughout, sometimes serious, sometimes comical, sometimes confused as to what to be.

One thing is for certain, despite the story problems, a fun, old school action film is delivered. It is fun to see a film that is loaded with swashbuckling sword fights, and action reminiscent of a bygone era.

Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta Jones have both returned to reprise their roles. Zorro is a character that Banderas appears to have been born to play. There is something about him that is perfect for these larger than life characters, he has a great voice and a swagger that few current actors possess. This is not so different than his Desperado character in that respect. Catherine Zeta Jones brings an aura of class with her wherever she goes. Whether she is charming the bad guys, putting her man in his place, or holding her own in a fight, she always does it with a flair.

Martin Campbell returns to direct. I think he is a decent action director, but he is terribly inconsistent. I thought he did a good job with GoldenEye and Mark of Zorro, but he also has No Escape and this to his resume. I feel they tried to do to much here, too many elements competing for screen time bloat the running time and kill the narrative.

One thing that bugged me throughout was the comedic scenes thrust on the horse. I thought it was great that they played up the communication and camaraderie between them. The problem is the smoking and drinking, and other little things that just took me out of the film.

Bottomline. In the end, despite the messy story and tonal shifts, this is still a fun movie. It is a fun popcorn flick that is safe for the whole family.



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