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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.45%
Worth A Look: 14.55%
Pretty Bad: 16.36%
Total Crap: 1.82%

7 reviews, 13 user ratings

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Legend of Zorro, The
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by Erik Childress

"The Surprise This Time? A Pretty Good Sequel"
4 stars

The resurgence of Zorro was one of the great pleasant surprises in 1998. It respected the character with a literate script by adventure specialists Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio (who later penned the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean), it had a lavish production and the action was both mischievous and terrifically exciting. A solid enough hit to please the books, Zorro has still somehow taken seven years to get back into theaters. Some of the excitement may have been drained out in the wait, but the creators of the original are back to remind us what we liked so much in the first place.

Ten years after Zorro’s successor, Don Alejandro de la Vega (Antonio Banderas) helped rescue the newly independent California from a ruthless industrialist, he is now protecting the state’s opportunity to be voted into the Union. The bell-ringin’ Zorro signal has caused a strain on his relationship with Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Zorro Jr. (Adrian Alonso). But he’s not the only member of the Zorro clan called on for duty. In developments right out of Hitchcock’s Notorious, a pair of government agents goad Elena into going undercover to keep an eye on Armand (Rufus Sewell) whom they rightfully suspect is up to no good.and not just a wine conossieur.

Dealing unwell with the separation from his beloved, Alejandro does some snooping on his own and is none too pleased to see Elena nustling up with the charming Armand. His son is in constant mischief at school and ashamed that his father possesses none of the qualities he idolizes in his hero, Zorro. A greasy henchman (Nick Chinlund) has also been terrorizing the countryside on a real estate buy/force-out all in the name of a God who doesn’t exactly get the most pious of treatment from countrymen known for their religious heritage. Aside from Chinlund’s cross-scarred force of evil, there’s also a Spanish priest who does nothing but humiliate and punish his students. Thankfully there’s an honorable monk as Zorro’s confidant, but even he makes the unfortunate faux pas:

KID: “I was just ringing the bell so Zorro will come.“
MONK: “Make sure he comes on your backside.“

It’s less nefarious than it sounds, but unless dirty priest humor was intentional we don’t need one of them sounding like Tobias from Arrested Development.

Those of us more cynical and possibly slightly more disturbed fans may take hesitation in the downgrading of the sequel’s rating from a PG-13 to a mere PG. While this is not a series based on bloodshed, there is still nothing mere about the more family-friendly rating. The Legend of Zorro arrives with its fair share of violence and probably more individual deaths by explosion than listed on Wile E. Coyote’s HMO chart. The action, spread liberally throughout the two hour-plus affair, doesn’t have the playfulness that came with Zorro learning to fit comfortably in his shoes. He’s more skillful now, taking every opportunity to jump and spin up into the air, but Martin Campbell’s direction of it is no less skillful. Some impressive stuntwork is on hand and the train climax is fast-paced and nicely executed.

Fans of the original won’t walk away from Legend with that pleasant delight look on their face to compliment how much fun they had. The addition of a spunky kid into the mix never bodes well, but he’s less annoying (by half) than your standard screenwriting crutch to adding something cutesy for the youngster demographic. This is still a quite entertaining film that works harder than most sequels capitalizing on lightning in a bottle. It’s not often nowadays that you can go to the movies and get a night’s worth of swashbuckling, slapstick and espionage all in on trip. OK, maybe its just an afternoon’s worth, but isn’t that where you used to find matinee heroes which had you looking forward to the next chapter?

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originally posted: 10/28/05 14:04:57
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User Comments

1/15/09 Shaun Wallner Very Interesting 4 stars
4/30/06 Joe Smaltz modern crappy special effects, (flying people and shit) 1 stars
3/22/06 J. L. Chambers A special Zorro movie. Asking for more is absurd. 5 stars
2/14/06 ES First one sucked a little harder than this one, still see it for free or not at all 2 stars
12/29/05 ALDO NOT BAD... 3 stars
12/22/05 tina mateer at least i did not fall asleep-so-so movie 3 stars
12/15/05 Big C This film was non stop action, the way a Zorro film should be! 5 stars
12/14/05 Corinne Boring, senseless, and ho hum sequel 2 stars
11/18/05 malcolm the kid was the best part. a lot of fun, overall. 3 stars
11/12/05 HLM Fast Paced - not bad 3 stars
11/07/05 Koitus Zeta-Jones is as mesmerizing as ever! ;-) Good flick; quite a few FUNNY scenes! 4 stars
10/31/05 Quigley th action sequences are really spetacular sometimes. banderas is absolutely awesome. see it 5 stars
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  28-Oct-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 31-Jan-2006



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