The Legend of Zorro (PG)
Time Out saysSeven years on from ‘The Mask of Zorro’, which managed to entertain despite flaws of over-length and a tendency to bombast, the masked swordsman returns for a disappointing sequel in which the flaws have rather taken over. Antonio Banderas’s Alejandro is still fighting the good fight in Zorro mode but spouse Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) has tired of the subterfuge which requires keeping his identity secret even from their ten-year-old son. Before long, divorce proceedings are on the agenda, she’s hanging on the arm of a French count (Rufus Sewell, who’s obviously been watching re-runs of ‘Allo, Allo’), her boy Joaquin (Adrian Alonso, cloying) is dangerously copying Zorro’s exploits, and ruthless mercenaries are trying to influence California’s crucial vote on secession from Mexico to join the United States.
As Alejandro’s responsibilities as husband, father and freedom fighter are pulled hither and thither, the movie piles on the plotting as if determined to impress us. However, having rather over-estimated our existing affection for the characters, its over-elaboration soon becomes strictly academic and the 130-minute running-time something of an endurance test. With the exploits of Zorro junior and the bloodlessly Disney-ish swordplay seemingly shifting the target audience closer to the kiddie market, such complication seems rather counter-productive in the circumstances, especially since the below-par CGI and cartoonishly exaggerated action highlights prove resolutely un-thrilling. Zeta-Jones’s diva-ish swagger is hard to warm to this time round, Banderas seems to be going through the motions, and 007 director Campbell’s usual sure touch with set-piece mayhem seems to have deserted him. Truly, it’s Zorro with a zzz.
Fri Oct 28, 2005