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 The Legend of Zorro
 Critic's Rating
   [C+]
 Date Posted
   8th November, 2005
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Cast: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rufus Sewell
Director: Martin Campbell

One more adjective can be added to the list of words that can possibly be used to describe a movie sequel, specifically in the case of Zorro - sluggish.

The first film had its fair share of problems with pacing; clocking over 120 minutes in setting the story and the eventual resolution, but the follow-up feels like a good eternity or two. The informative movie website, IMDB, also states that the movie went through numerous title changes before settling for the one eventually chosen and its not hard to guess why the film has scant reason to exist and the title is as random as the pages of script from which the film feels it was shot from.

It has been a decade or so since Alejandro (Antonio Banderas) donned the black costume and whip of Zorro and his years of masquerading start to take their toll on his marriage to Elena (Catherine Zeta Jones). She wants him to spend more time with his family, now extended to include an annoying little brat, but a crucial political ballot in the state of California in the mid 1800's keeps him away from home. Husband and wife soon head their separate ways and Elena finds comfort in the company of the dubious aristocrat Armand (a sinister Rufus Sewell). There is much more to this setting than meets the eye, and informed viewers may even be able to quickly point out that the its inspiration is probably Hitchcock's 'Notorious' but before the layers of plot intricacy can be peeled away to make way for the truth, 90 minutes of marital buffoonery and lazy plotting must be withstood.

Perhaps the only aspect of the film worth commending is how effortlessly both the leads step back into their former roles. In the seven years since the release and success of 'The mask of Zorro', neither star Antonio Banderas nor director Martin Campbell have been able to find achievement of the same magnitude with their other endeavours. Indeed, by making a film cramped with one lifeless moment after another, Campbell seems to be making up for all his time away.

Hitchcock was a smart director and understood that the purpose of such an inert setting was to provide a springboard from which to explore richer, more intriguing themes (the McGuffin, as it was referred to). In 'the legend of Zorro' the McGuffin becomes the purpose. - Faizan Rashid

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