Banderas dons the ‘Mask of Zorro’ one more time

Robert Taylor

Antonio Banderas is Zorro for Halloween this year … again.

Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones gaze at their uncertain future in Legend of Zorro.

Credit: Ben Breier


The Legend of Zorro

Starring Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rufus Sewell

Directed by Martin Campbell

Released by Columbia Pictures

Stater rating (out of four): ***


Mask of Zorro was released seven years ago, and though you probably don’t remember the plot of that swashbuckler, chances are, you remember it being a pretty good popcorn action flick that appealed to both women and men. Today, the same can be said of its sequel, Legend of Zorro.

Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones reunite here with the director of the first film, Martin Campbell, to tell a different kind of story.

Where the first film was all about the discovery of who Zorro is and what his myth was about, Legend of Zorro asks the question: “What happens when legends have run their course?”

Alejandro (Banderas) and Elena (Zeta-Jones) are having marital difficulties because of Alejandro’s reluctance to give up his alter ego Zorro. Elena thinks now that California is officially a state, Zorro is no longer needed and Alejandro isn’t spending enough time with his son. But Alejandro wants to wear the mask a few more months.

Feeling betrayed, Elena files for divorce from Alejandro, who spends months moping and drinking, but remains too proud to apologize. Elena apparently moves on with the dashing Armand (Rufus Sewell), but things turn out to be a bit more complicated than they seem, and a subplot to destroy the world with soap (I kid you not) takes center stage at the halfway point.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Banderas and Zeta-Jones still have all the chemistry they shared in the first film, and though the main plot is very adult in nature there are plenty of jokes supplied by Alejandro and Elena’s son Joaquin.

While the romantic stuff will cause the ladies in the audience to swoon, the action sequences are expertly done as well. How refreshing to see a major studio release not completely surrender to using CGI for all action, instead relying on stuntmen and miniatures to make the setpieces seem real.

Especially impressive is the entire final act of the film, which takes place above, on, inside and below a speeding train. This scene is refreshingly different from other movies’ train scenes, such as Wild Wild West.

Legend of Zorro won’t win any awards next spring, but it is great action fun with two likeable actors giving great performances that appeal to men and women of any age. Get in on the adventure.

Contact ALL correspondent Robert Taylor at [email protected].