The Mask of Zorro

The Mask of Zorro Image
Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 186 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. This is hot-weather escapism so earnestly retrograde that it seems new.
  2. A lively, old-fashioned adventure yarn with just a twist of modern attitude, it's the kind of pleasant entertainment that allows the paying customers to have as much fun as the people on screen.
  3. 75
    The film is a display of traditional movie craftsmanship, especially at the level of the screenplay, which respects the characters and story and doesn't simply use them for dialogue breaks between action sequences.
  4. 70
    The Mask Of Zorro is disarming for the same reasons, coasting on the charisma of its stars and a few exciting action setpieces.
  5. 60
    Director Martin Campbell's lumpy direction doesn't coalesce into anything much beyond a pleasant assembly of set pieces.
  6. 50
    Antonio Banderas signs up for charisma lessons from Anthony Hopkins -- but they just don't take.
  7. 40
    A romantic adventure-movie slapstick that's too screwy for the action crowd and too old-fashioned for the Home Alone contingent.

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Aug 11, 2010
    10
    This movie is phenomenal and definitely one of the most underrated movies of all-time. The plot is great, everything flows wonderfully fromThis movie is phenomenal and definitely one of the most underrated movies of all-time. The plot is great, everything flows wonderfully from scene to scene and it gives you that feel of a real authentic movie. The action is fantastic as well, I mean who doesn't love sword-fighting especially when its done this good. I thought characters were also well mapped out and you really do care what happens to them. Expand
  2. JoséA.
    Dec 11, 2005
    10
    This a very very cool movie is great.
  3. Oct 31, 2010
    9
    Antonio Banderas for the win!
  4. Sep 6, 2013
    8
    Fueled with slick dialogue and a script that benefits greatly from the charismatic leads of Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins, The Mask ofFueled with slick dialogue and a script that benefits greatly from the charismatic leads of Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins, The Mask of Zorro is a spectacular swashbuckling tale with an endless knack to entertain. Expand
  5. Apr 1, 2016
    8
    ''The Mask of Zorro'' extends a tempting invitation: travel back to the days when swashbuckling was serious business, when boyish adventure''The Mask of Zorro'' extends a tempting invitation: travel back to the days when swashbuckling was serious business, when boyish adventure films still had their innocence, when the bravado of thrilling stunt work was all a movie needed in the way of special effects. With a wealth of charismatic Zorros (two), a smashing heroine and a dauntless love of adventure, this is hot-weather escapism so earnestly retrograde that it seems new.

    Directed by Martin Campbell, who gives it the same gaudy Bondian brio he brought to ''Goldeneye,'' this Zorro features heroic derring-do from three men. First and most distinguished is Don Diego de la Vega, a k a Zorro Senior, played by a marvelously game Anthony Hopkins with unexpectedly elegant panache. Then there is his jokey, hot-blooded protege, the role that Antonio Banderas was obviously born to play.

    And behind the scenes there's Robert Anderson, sword master to the stars for 45 years (he worked with Errol Flynn), who has choreographed the film's many sword fights with spectacular flamboyance. If Mr. Anderson's style looks familiar, that may be because it was he who matched light-sabers with Luke Skywalker while dressed in a Darth Vader suit.

    There are ''Star Wars'' overtones to the story here, too, since ''The Mask of Zorro'' draws on the relationship between mentor and hero-in-training with the same debt to Joseph Campbell's mythic motifs. None too seriously, you understand -- just well enough to keep the film's castanets clicking. This format requires an early tragedy, and that happens when Zorro Senior loses his raven-haired wife and baby daughter to the evil Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson), an early-19th-century Spanish governor of Alta California. There's something irresistibly quaint about the moment when Zorro and his wife, while sharing a tender moment at home, suddenly find themselves surrounded by a dozen sword-clanking soldiers who somehow crept noiselessly into the house.

    Though the dashing Don Diego has donned the Zorro mask to fight Spanish oppression (see assorted Zorro reruns on the late show for further details), circumstances now demand that he vanish for 20 years. He turns up again in the midst of a scraggly, unwashed crowd who can be described only as wretches in this context. Meanwhile, no less scraggly is a hapless thief named Alejandro Murrieta (Mr. Banderas) who has his own reasons for hating Don Rafael.

    It also happens that when Alejandro was a young boy, in the film's first big swashbuckling scene, he helped to save Don Diego's life. Later, when they meet as adults and Don Diego does him a good turn, Alejandro asks, ''Why are you so eager to help me?'' Don Diego replies, ''Because, long ago, you did the same for me.'' (The dialogue all sounds like that.) From here, it's not long before these two begin their Zorro lessons. Clowning merrily without jeopardizing his smolder quotient, Mr. Banderas is shaped most endearingly into a protege worthy of mask, steed, mission and the works.

    Gracing ''The Mask of Zorro'' with a beauty inevitably described as ''beyond compare'' is the stunning Catherine Zeta-Jones. She plays Elena, Don Diego's long-lost and predictably raven-haired daughter, and she does it so showstoppingly that the film's appeal extends well beyond boyish action-adventure.

    Enchantingly paired with Mr. Banderas for a scorching tango, a hearty duel, a scene in a confessional that has him impersonating a priest and other such vintage-style encounters, Ms. Zeta-Jones makes her first major film role one to remember. It's worth noting that her bold, alluring Elena is one of numerous strong movie heroines (Jennifer Lopez in ''Out of Sight,'' Cameron Diaz in ''There's Something About Mary,'' Rene Russo in ''Lethal Weapon 4,'' the animated Mulan) on screen this summer.

    Though its major sets and vistas have their blatant artificiality, there's nothing phony about the vigorous, sometimes jokey physical exertions on which ''The Mask of Zorro'' thrives. The wild bravado on horseback is on a par with dueling scenes. And as for the double who jumps spread-legged onto his saddle from a substantial height, well, he's a hero, too.

    The costume designer Graciela Mazon, who had been warming up Mr. Banderas for Zorro duty in ''From Dusk Till Dawn'' and ''Desperado,'' lives up to the occasion with all the boots and corsets and flamenco chic that the material warrants. James Horner's atmospheric score frequently summons the memory of ''Malaguena,'' giving the film all the beguiling hokum it needs.
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  6. Feb 27, 2014
    8
    The Mask of Zorro will be a great classic someday. The Zorro films have always been inspiring and original, and that's what makes them specialThe Mask of Zorro will be a great classic someday. The Zorro films have always been inspiring and original, and that's what makes them special and unique. This film, like a great scotch, will get better with age. Expand
  7. Mar 18, 2013
    7
    Right from its grand and bombastic opening logos, you get the distinct feeling when starting "The Mask of Zorro" that you're in for a rideRight from its grand and bombastic opening logos, you get the distinct feeling when starting "The Mask of Zorro" that you're in for a ride and considering this is an action picture from Martin Campbell, it doesn't disappoint. This is a highly entertaining and well-made movie with a script and characters as clean and beautiful as the direction and practical effects. It's big, it's exciting, it's explosive and it's very memorable. Expand

See all 17 User Reviews

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