Monday, February 27, 2006

DVD Review - The Legend of Zorro

Has it really been 7 years since The Mask of Zorro?

The new film, though undeniably packed with action, lacks some of the pace and charm of its prequel. The simmering romance is replaced with snappy banter and an air of slapstick. Zorro, now the family man, just doesn’t seem to butcher his way through those gringos like he used to.

The irrepressible Zorro, masquerading as landed gentry Don Alejandro de la Vega (Antonio Banderas), is now married to his Elena (Catherine Zeta Jones) and they have been living peacefully for the last 10 years with nobody any the wiser. The couple’s son, Joaquin (Adrian Alonso), is oblivious that his father is the timeless peoples hero, Zorro.

Not yet a State, California is on the brink of joining the US of A, seemingly the end of the fight for our hero. Not everyone, however, is prepared to let the family settle down and enjoy the quiet of peacetime. Enter suave, well dressed, Frenchman Armand (the marvellous Rufus Sewell), and his twisted wooden-toothed lackey, Jacob McGivens (Nick Chinlund).

Since Zorro must protect the people, family must take second place. This leads the couple into marital strife (which provides some excellent dialogue between Zeta Jones and Banderas) and Elena leaves our hero for the Frenchman (boooo-hisssss). Now bitter, drunk and lovelorn, Zorro discovers that the seemingly charming Armand is part of a global conspiracy plotting against California, and discovers a scheme involving stealing land from the poor defeceless masses. It’s all very ‘meat and two veg’, and unfortunately lacks the sparkle of it’s predecessor, but this is far more of a family move than the original and if that’s what you’re looking for look no further.

Catherine Zeta Jones plays her character with grace. She is voluptuous, can fence like a demon, she has whip-crack delivery and she smoulders along as Banderas’s equal under an array of frumpy frocks. Banderas is as dashing as usual (the housewives favourite) with his wink, his wry grin, his smooth banter and buckets of latino poise. Even their young Mexican son, Joaquin, is a talented little heart stealer that raises a smile when on screen. All excellent, but the finest performance and a special note goes to Toronado the horse, who entirely steels the show.

Bond director Martin Campbell, renowned for creating great action flicks, has another money-spinner on his hands. If you liked the first one, you’ll like this one.

Movie: 3 out of 5
3.5 out of 5

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