The Legend of Zorro

User Score
4.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 81 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 81
  2. Negative: 28 out of 81

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User Reviews

  1. Apr 1, 2016
    5
    The trouble with sequels is that most are obliged to outperform their forerunners in the most obvious ways. Bigger, faster and more spectacular is usually the rule. Strenuously applied to "The Legend of Zorro," the sequel to the 1998 blockbuster "The Mask of Zorro," that rule translates into busier, sloppier, less coherent and more frantic. Subtlety is out the window.

    This fitfully
    The trouble with sequels is that most are obliged to outperform their forerunners in the most obvious ways. Bigger, faster and more spectacular is usually the rule. Strenuously applied to "The Legend of Zorro," the sequel to the 1998 blockbuster "The Mask of Zorro," that rule translates into busier, sloppier, less coherent and more frantic. Subtlety is out the window.

    This fitfully entertaining mess of a movie was directed by Martin Campbell from a screenplay by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Especially in its jampacked final 45 minutes, it leaps off the precipice like the rider who jumps (Zorro himself) from a ledge onto a speeding train that disperses a crowd as it races toward a tunnel. It's all accomplished by brazen cut-away editing. Beyond the breakneck velocity of that editing, which generates its own momentum, little suspense is sustained; speed rules, but the pace is hectic and haranguing. All the while, James Horner's stampeding pseudo-Spanish score huffs and puffs, working overtime to conjure a bullfighters' marathon.

    "The Legend of Zorro" brings back Antonio Banderas, looking considerably older and in some shots haggard and flabby, as Don Alejandro de la Vega and his alter ego, Zorro, the original caped crusader, invented by Johnston McCulley in a 1919 novel. The voluptuous Catherine Zeta-Jones returns as his buxom wife, Elena, a 21st-century Hedy Lamarr, who smolders even in repose.

    In this sequel-ready episode, the fun couple come apart at the beginning of the story, then reconnect just in time to save the still-expanding United States of America from falling into the hands of Confederate villains armed with a new secret weapon, nitroglycerin disguised as soap; California's statehood also hangs in the balance.

    This fantasy of American history, of course, is utterly bogus in the same way that the history trotted out in a movie like "National Treasure" is fiction. But, hey! This is just a rootin'-tootin' daydream of the Old West, a heck of a yarn whose relationship to reality is at best tangential.

    "The Legend of Zorro" could be dubbed the family edition of the myth, since the fun couple have spawned a son, Joaquin (Adrian Alonso), who at 10 is already a fearless action hero who affects the course of American history. The unfortunate actor playing Joaquin has mouthfuls of cutesy pseudo-tough-guy dialogue that comes out sounding strained and affected. Look out, however, for Mr. Alonso, or for some other soon-to-be adolescent, to take over the franchise if it is to be picked up for further episodes, which is probably not a good idea.

    Like "National Treasure," "The Legend of Zorro" throws in a large pinch of the occult. It imagines that in 1850, when California was just becoming the 31st state of the Union, a mysterious secret Spanish fraternity, the knights of Aragon, was scheming to rule the world through its agent, the evil Count Armand (Rufus Sewell), a school friend of Elena's. To Don Alejandro's chagrin, Elena seems willing to become Armand's new trophy wife.

    Early in the story, the count celebrates the opening of a fancy winery that doubles as a front for his assembly line of explosives. Not even in the ritziest corners of Napa wine country have you seen a crowd as delirious or pyrotechnics as excessive as the fireworks bursting around Armand's mansion like explosive frosting on a wedding cake.

    Unlike most his-and-hers action teams, Mr. Banderas and Ms. Zeta-Jones enjoy combustible chemistry; in a couple of backbending clinches they munch hungrily on each other's mouths, and Ms. Zeta-Jones seems genuinely dazed with desire when she comes up for air. Their chemistry notwithstanding, neither star is required to act beyond putting on a few stock grimaces. All Mr. Banderas has to do is to direct thunderous scowls in the direction of this or that villain. Ms. Zeta-Jones's principal task (particularly when wearing pearls) is to embody fleshy sultriness and to express mild indignation when vexed.

    This is a hiss-the-villain, cheer-the-hero kind of movie. The slimiest of several bad guys is Armand's election-stealing, land-grabbing, cackling henchman, Jacob McGivens (Nick Chinlund), a grinning fiend with removable brown teeth and a hideous scar. His comically exaggerated caricature of evil embodies the collapse of the franchise that originally embraced and sent up clichés with a knowing sense of humor and a hint of subtlety. No longer.
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  2. Mar 20, 2016
    4
    Some sequels are made too soon, while others are made too late. The Legend of Zorro, Martin Campbell's follow-up to his well-received 1998 feature, The Mask of Zorro, falls into the latter category. It's difficult to say whether the film would have been better had it gone before cameras three or four years ago but, by 2005, it feels creaky and out-of-date. The production is suffused by anSome sequels are made too soon, while others are made too late. The Legend of Zorro, Martin Campbell's follow-up to his well-received 1998 feature, The Mask of Zorro, falls into the latter category. It's difficult to say whether the film would have been better had it gone before cameras three or four years ago but, by 2005, it feels creaky and out-of-date. The production is suffused by an almost desperate attempt to recapture the mood of its predecessor, but the tone is forced rather than natural, and the resultant production is bloated, contrived, and not very entertaining. The Mask of Zorro worked because of its engaging mix of action, romance, and comedy. The Legend of Zorro goes 0-for-3, striking out as it tries (and fails) to recapture the pleasure offered by the earlier story of the swashbuckling superhero.

    The Legend of Zorro opens in 1850, with California preparing to vote to become the 31st state. Certain forces, including those led by the racist McGivins (Nick Chinlund), will do anything to stop this, including murder and ballot theft. Enter Zorro (Antonio Banderas), the defender of the people, who punishes McGivins and ensures that the election runs smoothly. When the votes have been tabulated, Zorro doffs his mask and returns home as Don Alejandro de La Vega to his wife, Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones), and his son, Joaquin (Adrian Alonso). An agreement with Elena would have Alejandro give up his alter-ego at this time, but he wonders if Zorro might still be needed. This leads to a heated argument, followed by a divorce. Alejandro becomes a drunkard, and Elena is wooed by a French count, Armand (Rufus Sewell), who has come to California to cultivate grapes for wine. Soon, however, it becomes clear that Armand is up to no good. He has ties to McGivins and is plotting something dastardly. It's up to Zorro to stop these two and save Elena.

    For the talent involved, The Mask of Zorro represented perfect timing. Anthony Hopkins was looking for something to show off his lighter side. Antonio Banderas used it as an opportunity to maintain his status as a star/sex symbol. And Catherine Zeta-Jones vaulted from near obscurity to the A-list (capturing Michael Douglas' attention in the process). The constellations are not as well aligned for The Legend of Zorro. Banderas hasn't been a big name for years. Zeta-Jones is no longer a fresh face. And Hopkins isn't in the movie. Moreover, the chemistry between the two leads, which was one of the highlights of the 1998 outing, has evaporated during the intervening years. Despite numerous plot contortions designed to construct the framework for an artificial resurgence of the romance between Alejandro and Elena, Banderas and Zeta-Jones no longer have the ability to generate sparks, much less fire.

    The action in The Legend of Zorro is routine. The swordfights produce little in the way of excitement or suspense. Equally lifeless are the saccharine "bonding" attempts between Alejandro and his son. The boy admires Zorro for his flair, but dislikes his father for what he perceives to be cowardice. Alejandro tries to teach his son that there are better ways than resorting to violence, but it's a lesson the movie abandons, because violence is more fun on-screen that pacifism. The Legend of Zorro is also cursed with two of the least interesting bad guys in recent memory. While McGivens and Armand are unquestionably villainous, there's nothing about them to cause audiences to hiss. They're boring. Nick Chinlund tries to do a little over-the-top ranting, but it comes across as second-rate. And Rufus Sewell fails to convince us that he's more than an effeminate fop. Never do we believe that either of these men is in Zorro's league. The question is not whether they will be toppled, but why it requires an inflated running time of more than two hours for the swashbuckler to get the job done.

    One could argue that the influx of "new" superhero movies since 1998 has made Zorro outdated. When The Mask of Zorro was released, the cinematic landscape was a superhero wasteland. Since then, we've seen the emergence of the X-Men, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, and (a re-imagined) Batman. It's a crowded field, and this diluted version of Zorro doesn't hold up. Zorro has a distinguished history, dating back to 1919. It's unfortunate that the latest installment of his saga makes him look like a relic who's ready for retirement.
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  3. Feb 27, 2014
    6
    The Legend doesn't compare to The Mask, but is still a great Zorro movie that takes this great story beyond boundaries. What it lacks in acting and writing, it makes up for in story.
  4. Nov 13, 2013
    3
    The Legend of Zorro isn't very Legendary.
    While Zorro is surrounded by a well rounded cast and a very intriguing story; the directors turn it into a boring monstrosity of what it was intended to be.
  5. Oct 31, 2010
    7
    not an excellent sequel, but its perfect and it has the presence of the return of Antonio Banderas and Catherine-Zeta Jones.
  6. ShaunS
    Dec 26, 2006
    1
    What a load of mindless drival. Anthony Hopkins stick to the roles you are brilliant at. Banderas and Zeta Jones man what a mismatch, no chemistry, just plain bored out of my skull.
  7. MichaelJ.
    Mar 19, 2006
    10
    Fantastic! I was kinda worried about it being rubbish before i saw it, but it was'nt!
  8. ArielG.
    Feb 22, 2006
    6
    Mildly entertaining, well-directed and watchable, but ultimately unfulfilling in the end. It lacked the excitement and the 'big movie' experience of the prequel. One thing I disliked most about the movie was the corny dialogue. What did I particularly like about this movie? All the gratuitous shots of the lovely Catherine Zeta-Jones' ample cleavage. The action was well Mildly entertaining, well-directed and watchable, but ultimately unfulfilling in the end. It lacked the excitement and the 'big movie' experience of the prequel. One thing I disliked most about the movie was the corny dialogue. What did I particularly like about this movie? All the gratuitous shots of the lovely Catherine Zeta-Jones' ample cleavage. The action was well executed though, so action fans should like it. Expand
  9. Phantomfreak07
    Jan 25, 2006
    10
    I loved this movie. I felt a bond with Zorro when I saw 1998's Mask, and this strengthened it. I loved little Adrian Alonso (Joaquin), he was adorable! Antonio and Catherine were stunning as always, and Sewell made a very good villain. He had the charm to keep your attention at the same time you knew he was up to something. If he were in a different role, I'd go on about him, I loved this movie. I felt a bond with Zorro when I saw 1998's Mask, and this strengthened it. I loved little Adrian Alonso (Joaquin), he was adorable! Antonio and Catherine were stunning as always, and Sewell made a very good villain. He had the charm to keep your attention at the same time you knew he was up to something. If he were in a different role, I'd go on about him, but I'll stick with saying I liked his eyes. I did, however, question (after seeing the film) why it wasn't also rated PG13. With all the crazy action stunts and even the child swearing (so what if it was Spanish? I understood it w/o subtitles) I expected it to get a higher rating. All in all though, I loved it and can't wait till it is released on DVD. Expand
  10. MarkB.
    Jan 4, 2006
    7
    It's expected that the second half of this sequel to the 1998 Antonio Banderas/ Catherine Zeta-Jones summer popcorn flick about the famous Old California hybrid of Robin Hood and Batman would have the feel of a Wild, Wild West episode once the plot kicks into gear. However, I really wasn't expecting the first half, which deals with the Z-man's difficulties adjusting to It's expected that the second half of this sequel to the 1998 Antonio Banderas/ Catherine Zeta-Jones summer popcorn flick about the famous Old California hybrid of Robin Hood and Batman would have the feel of a Wild, Wild West episode once the plot kicks into gear. However, I really wasn't expecting the first half, which deals with the Z-man's difficulties adjusting to marriage and fatherhood, to play so much like an installment of Everybody Loves Raymond! (it definitely helps that neither Patricia Heaton nor Zeta-Jones are able to stop being extremely appealing, desirable women no matter how much nagging their characters do.) Banderas' charming, often comic performance, a cute one by child actor Adrian Alonso as Zorro's son and pint-sized counterpart, an amusing one by Rufus Sewell, who plays his villainous role as a Hispanic Christopher Walken, some imaginative PG-rated methods of disposing of the bad guys and a number of rather audacious parallels to contemporary politics and warfare place this clearly in the 'guilty pleasure' category; like the original, it's notably longer than it has any right to be (perhaps Steven Spielberg executive producing both of them is a factor?) ...but The Legend of Zorro provides enough consistent fun to assure that you won't be catching any Z's while watching it. Expand
  11. NickS
    Dec 28, 2005
    2
    The plot, dialog and action is absurdly predictable. Once I had started laughing at the romance scenes and the dodgy accents, everyone else in the cinema did too.
  12. Squall
    Dec 15, 2005
    0
    Not cool at all. Simply awful! Enough said.
  13. FiladelfioJ.
    Dec 11, 2005
    10
    This Movie is cool very cool.
  14. WallyS.
    Dec 8, 2005
    8
    Mindless escapist fun. Banderas and Zeta-Jones are all charm, and it turns out to be a dazzling elegant and spectacular action flick. Maybe not better than the original version, but that is asking too much.
  15. AdamL.
    Nov 29, 2005
    9
    If Your Looking for a plot movie, don't waste your money. Action Lovers, This is your movie! It's almost one continues fight scene rapped up in a 2 hour spectacular. other than the -1 I gave it for the non-fight scenes that sucked, it was good!
  16. Harriet
    Nov 28, 2005
    3
    Very disappointing effort after the last. Not worthy of your time or money.
  17. DaveG
    Nov 11, 2005
    7
    As stated - not as good as the original (sans Hopkins) but nevertheless, a good fun mindless romp of cinema. Banderas and Zeta-Jones have enough charisma to carry the picture when the plot (or lack thereof) falters. Definately not an Oscar contender, but in a year of mediocre to awful films, this one manages to entertain and serves to deliver some escapist entertainment to the public. As stated - not as good as the original (sans Hopkins) but nevertheless, a good fun mindless romp of cinema. Banderas and Zeta-Jones have enough charisma to carry the picture when the plot (or lack thereof) falters. Definately not an Oscar contender, but in a year of mediocre to awful films, this one manages to entertain and serves to deliver some escapist entertainment to the public. Look for it to probably hit DVD in March or April at the latest. Expand
  18. M.Valdo
    Nov 8, 2005
    9
    See Bart B. Do you like concept of Zorro? YES. Is he still the good guy (not killing anyone? YES. Does Antonio still have it? YES. Back to see Bart B. The time sped by. We loved it. The kid WAS charming and can take the baton.
  19. ZakHimself
    Nov 7, 2005
    2
    What a waste of time... Weak plot (very!), Completely anachronic (divorce in the 1800s?! Hello?!! couldn't they afford a 15mins consultance with a high school history teacher?!) And what's with that mindblowingly awful scene of forgetting the kid at school??!! Double Hello! If you're a Don either your servants go fetch the kid or if you dont have money to have servants then What a waste of time... Weak plot (very!), Completely anachronic (divorce in the 1800s?! Hello?!! couldn't they afford a 15mins consultance with a high school history teacher?!) And what's with that mindblowingly awful scene of forgetting the kid at school??!! Double Hello! If you're a Don either your servants go fetch the kid or if you dont have money to have servants then you probably cant afford shcooling your kid anyway! I wont say anything about the soap-opera-like dialog, the ridiculous fight scenes and the rest of this stinking pile of Tornado's excrements. Better go rent the witty original feature and forget there ever was a sequel. Expand
  20. kharagh
    Nov 6, 2005
    7
    Well...critics are wrong.This movie is fun!
  21. BartB.
    Oct 31, 2005
    8
    Fun, action-packed swashbuckler. It met all my expectations. I wasn't asking for the plot to be totally original. As long as it met the conventions of the swashbuckler genre, it met my expectations. The dialog wasn't inspired, but it didn't have to be. I thought the dialog and story were adequete, and humerous in places, that's all it needed to be. My parameters for Fun, action-packed swashbuckler. It met all my expectations. I wasn't asking for the plot to be totally original. As long as it met the conventions of the swashbuckler genre, it met my expectations. The dialog wasn't inspired, but it didn't have to be. I thought the dialog and story were adequete, and humerous in places, that's all it needed to be. My parameters for judging a film start with what was the director trying to do, and was he successful? I don't think judging that a director failed at doing something he might not even have been trying to do is really makes much sense. Of course the director failed at it, that's not what he was trying to do. The other thing I consider is how the film affected me, and why. This film entertained me and made me feel good. It kept my full interest and I enjoyed it because I didn't get hung up on what it wasn't; or what I thought it should have been. I accepted for what it was, a good old-fashioned swashbuckling action flick to eat popcorn with; and as such, I enjoyed it a lot. Expand
  22. chuckyo
    Oct 29, 2005
    6
    The critics' reviews are generally accurate. It has plenty of action, but, I guess you could say that the movie just isn't as sexy and fun as the first one was.
Metascore
47

Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 33
  2. Negative: 6 out of 33
  1. Turning "Zorro" into a family movie with domestic squabbles and sitcom situations takes some of the luster off the romantic adventure of Old California.
  2. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    70
    Bigger, louder and considerably less charming than its predecessor…Still, there are enough crowd-pleasing moments amid the frenetic action.
  3. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    60
    If the series wants to become a franchise, a rethink and new blood will be necessary -- maybe Banderas can get mortally wounded in reel one of The Son Of Zorro, passing on the mask and sword to, say, Gael García Bernal.