"The Legend of Zorro"
Directed by Martin Campbell.
Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.
Starring Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Rufus Sewell.
Release Year: 2005
Review Date: 11/20/05
Much like its predecessor, "The Mask of
Zorro", the new sequel "The Legend of Zorro" goes out of its way to
provide dashing PG adventure for the whole family. As
inoffensive as films can be, "Legend" does just enough to be
interesting as long as you come in with very low expectations.
Our man Alejandro, aka Zorro (Antonio
Banderas), is still fighting off the occasional bad guys while
living with his wife Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and his son
(Adrian Alonso) somewhere in California in the 1850s. After
saving a plot that nearly destroys the state's chances of joining
the Union (all of the political threads in "Legend" seemed a bit
sketchy), Zorro tells the wife that he's done with all that
save-the-world bullshit...until he's called yet again to save the
people, which leads Elena to try and divorce the man. She
leaves Zorro only to link up with a mysterious Spanish count (Rufus
Sewell) who is naturally not what he seems...and this leads Zorro
out of a long drinking binge and back into action to save his
marriage and the fate of not only California, but the fucking free
Hey, I'll give director Martin Campbell (the
original "Zorro", as well as "Goldeneye") credit--if harmless
action, light humor, exotic settings and a glazed-over stereotypical
Mexican restaurant soundtrack are what you are looking for, "The
Legend of Zorro" fits like a glove. Nary a curse word is heard
during the film's long 130-minute running time; there's no blood,
swordfights that end with no one ever being killed, there's no
sex--heck, there isn't even sexual innuendo or double
entendres in this thing. It's a great family film. As
such, the actions of the characters and the filmmaking that supports
this is quite bland and occasionally too long; reaction shots make
sure we get just how everyone is feeling at a given time. The
bad guys have
"Pirates of the Caribbean"-style bad teeth; only one decent
person dies, and if you've seen even a couple of movies before you
know who it's going to be the scene before he gets it. The
stuntwork feels like one of those stunt exhibitions they put on at
theme parks like Universal Studios; Campbell doesn't even attempt to
hide the fact that stunt doubles were used extensively for Banderas
and Zeta-Jones, the stunts are so ridiculous at times (as are the
facial discrepancies in relation to the stars the doubles portray).
Even our bad guy, played by Sewell, seems
like a relatively harmless guy until you take into account that he
is bent on world domination; he dines well, dresses fancy, seems to
have a somewhat-genuine interest in Elena. And you know he's
going to get it, in a ridiculous Bond bad guy death sequence, where
he dies in grand fashion. All of this is meant to say that as
a film that is big-budget Hollywood popcorn, "The Legend of Zorro"
is decent. I am writing this a few hours post-viewing to make
sure that I don't forget any of the details, because even now, it's
all flying from memory quick-like. Banderas gives effort like
nobody else in the business, even when he knows that this is as far
as possible from "Citizen Kane" quality; Zeta-Jones will always be
fun to watch. Even the kid, played by Alonso, has a couple of
good lines and stunt work that make you believe he might be able to
pull off the next bad kid role in a "Spy Kids" film. And, I
did laugh out loud when we get the close-up of the horse's eyes as
he realizes that railway tunnel is approaching a little too fast.
Not bad. I'll never see it again, but
at least I didn't feel like shit for blowing money on this as a
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard