The Legend of Zorro is not as good as its predecessor, The Mask of Zorro, featuring more silly humor and a plot full of historical inaccuracies, but it delivers the swashbuckling action that makes any Zorro movie enjoyable. Many critics disliked it, and I admit it does have some less-than-ideal elements, but most of them can be countered: Zorro’s son is rather irritating and bratty in his Scrappy-Doo enthusiasm, but he clearly takes after his father, though more as he was at the beginning of the first film; Alejandro and Elena spend much of the movie bickering and drunk on his part, but to be fair, most of this was due to her being blackmailed by the Pinkertons (who weren’t even called that in 1850); and I didn’t care for McGivens’s twisted quoting of Scripture to justify his wicked acts, but more faithful Christianity is still presented by the heroes, such as Alejandro’s heartfelt prayer in the church and a cross necklace saving the life of a priest. Thus, it may be a mixed bag, but it’s a mostly entertaining one.
Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones are as appealing as ever, even when their characters aren’t, and I was impressed by Rufus Sewell as Count Armand since, before this, I had only seen him in the very different role of abolitionist Thomas Clarkson in Amazing Grace. Armand is intimidating, but Nick Chinlund plays a much more menacing villain in McGivens. Also, (Lost alert!) Michael Emerson, who went on to play the diabolical Ben Linus on my favorite show, appears as one of the Pinkertons wearing muttonchops.
The movie most excels at its action. It may not be as frequent as the previous films, but the fight scenes are wondrously choreographed, and the final showdown is a standout among train-related conclusions. Some of it can be downright ridiculous, like a horse jumping onto a moving train (though the horse’s reaction to what comes next is priceless), but the climactic explosion is truly spectacular. I was annoyed at several mentions of the “Confederate” states when the Confederacy had not been formed in 1850, but overall the film is not as bad as many critics made it out to be, so it really is a shame that there were no further Zorro sequels. Since Hollywood has been redoing just about every franchise lately, I’m sure they’ll get around to rebooting Zorro sooner or later, though I can’t see anyone else satisfactorily replacing the two leads.
Best line: (Joaquin, not knowing his father’s secret, after his father defeats a bunch of prison guards) “Where did you learn to do that?” (Alejandro) “Prison changes a man.”Artistry: 5 Characters/Actors: 7 Entertainment: 8 Visual Effects: 8 Originality: 6 Watchability: 7 Other (violence and aforementioned issues): -2 TOTAL: 39 out of 60
Next: #226 – Forget Paris
© 2014 S. G. Liput
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