The Legend of Zorro 

Genre: Period swashbuckler.

The pitch: Don Alejandro and Elena de la Vega (Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones), aka Mr. and Mrs. Zorro, divorce after 10 years of marital smoldering and squabbling. But with the help of their oh-so-cute son, Joaquin (Adrian Alonso), can they stop a conspiracy that threatens California's statehood and the future of America?

Money shots: Zorro and his trusty black stallion leap onto the top of a moving train. Zorro climbs a ladder faster than a bad guy -- which doesn't sound all that impressive -- but it looked cool and was a rare stunt that didn't seem to involve CGI tweaking.

Body count: Four villains explode. An innocent family man gets gunned down. A couple of spies get fatally slashed. Otherwise, a red-hot poker or slingshot rock to the buttocks efficiently neutralize any attackers, in keeping with the PG rating.

Flesh factor: At one point, Banderas plays poker with three other naked guys in bathhouse hot tub; maybe it's really a sequel to Zorro, The Gay Blade.

Worst line: "Nobody leaves my tequila worm dangling in the wind!" Zorro declaims drunkenly after Elena appears in public with another man (Rufus Sewell).

Hollywood history: Spoiler alert: The villains scheme to tip the scales of the upcoming Civil War by helping the "Confederate Army" launch a pre-emptive attack on Washington, D.C. But the film takes place in 1850, and the Confederate States Army (not to mention the actual Confederacy) wasn't formed until 11 years later.

Better than the original?: Madre de dios, no. It's the worst kind of sequel ­-- so inferior to 1998's The Mask of Zorro that it actually taints your memory of the earlier film's dashing derring-do.

The bottom line: Why make a sequel seven years after The Mask of Zorro? Maybe The Legend of Zorro wants to belatedly ride the wave of Pirates of the Caribbean. Despite reuniting Banderas, Zeta-Jones and director Martin Campbell, The Legend of Zorro proves so sloppy, silly and over-acted that the signature "Z" should stand for "Zero."

2 Stars

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Recent Comments

  • Re: Fresh air

    • Local band Manchester Orchestra, who provided the soundtrack, probably would have appreciated a shout-out.

    • on June 29, 2016
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