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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 Jay Seaver

"Not bad, but when the first one was so good..."
3 stars

The popular knock on "The Legend of Zorro", it seems, has been that it's an "unnecessary" sequel. I get that, especially given the amount of time that has passed since "The Mask of Zorro"; Columbia and Amblin aren't exactly striking while the iron is hot here. And yet, it seems to me, that for Zorro to be successful and not have follow-ups would be somehow inappropriate; whether in the pulps, on the radio, in comics, or in Saturday morning cartoons, Zorro has always been a vehicle for multiple adventures, not just one. The problem is that if you're only going to do a new one every seven years or so, it would be nice if it were a bit better than this.

The story seems solid enough, and in line with the previous film: Armand (Rufus Sewell), a charming but dastardly member of a European secret society, seeks to stem the growing influence of the United States by sabotaging California's entry as a free state and igniting a civil war (the year is 1850; presumably a civil war ten years earlier would have been even more crippling). To make matters worse, he's romancing Elena de la Vega (Catherine Zeta-Jones), after arguments with husband Alejandro (Antonio Banderas) over how much time he spends as Zorro and how much he spends with their ten-year-old son Joaquin (Adrian Alonso) creates a rift in their marriage.

Happily, the kid isn't really a problem; the film could do without him, but since he was introduced in Mask, he therefore must be here. The problem is, I was never really able to buy Alejandro and Elena being estranged. And when we're told that they divorce - well, divorce is a bigger deal for Catholics now, 150 years after this movie is set, than it appears to be for the de la Vegas. In addition, the movie is sloppy with its history in ways its predecessor wasn't - Mask also takes place circa 1850, and while its writers (Ted Elliot & Terry Rossio) receive story credit here, most of the script comes from The Island screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, and features jarring anachronisms, like a Southern general referring to "Confederate states" about ten years early (the set decorator also loses points for having a modern map of the United States appear at one point).

Despite some technically impressive set pieces - the miniature work with the train is very nice indeed - something seems to be missing. Maybe there really is something to the rumors that Martin Campbell worked from Robert Rodriguez's storyboards in the first, because he's never done anything as good as Mask of Zorro before or since (yes, I'm including GoldenEye in this statement). There's nobody around who really classes up the joint like Anthony Hopkins did, either.

Rufus Sewell's villain just isn't in the same league as Stuart Wilson's Montero from the first movie; instead of creepy obsession, we get French jokes. And his chief henchman (Nick Chinlund) is certainly no match for his predecessor, either. Rather than blowing them off the screen, Banderas and Zeta-Jones kind of settle down to their level. The whole affair doesn't have the same zing or tension as Mask.

If you can somehow put "The Mask of Zorro" out of your mind, though, "Legend" isn't so bad. It's not great, but it's an enjoyable enough adventure movie, with swordfighting and nice action scenes. You can bring the kids and they'll enjoy it plenty.

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originally posted: 11/18/05 06:03:57
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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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