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Time has passed since Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas) took on the Mask of Zorro (1998). (He received his training at hands of the original Zorro (Anthony Hopkins), from whom he has inherited the mansion and the noble lineage.) He is now living as Don Alejandro de la Vega (Antonio Banderas), married - but only just - to Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones), with whom he has a 10 year old son, Joaquin (Adrian Alonso). It's 1850 and California is about to join the Union as the 31st State, escaping from oppressive landlords and crooks under the protection of the United States. Unless someone can derail the formalization and create havoc for their own good reasons - like an agenda to weaken the US in favour of their own clique of European powerbrokers. Such a one comes along in the form of French aristocrat Armand (Rufus Sewell) - armed with a revolutionary new weapon.

Review by Louise Keller:
The music, the scenery and the indelible silhouette of the swashbuckling Zorro on horseback against a crimson sunset are the payoff for The Legend of Zorro, a sequel that works only on some levels. Sure, there's sultry Antonio Banderas and curvaceous Catherine Zeta-Jones flaunting an extravagant wardrobe and exaggerated cleavage. Plus there's Zorro's scene-stealer of a black stallion, which prefers being spoken to in Spanish, tosses his rider on cue, drinks wine out of a bottle and even smokes a pipe. If that's not enough to make you gape, the stunts will - they're as flamboyant as the legend. But that's where the cantering buckets to a halt: Martin Campbell's direction lacks a light touch, and the script is as pedestrian as the Mexican peasants. It's all overdone - and Rufus Sewell's accent as the French aristocrat is atrocious.

The film starts well with a thrilling set piece, showing Zorro as lithe as ever, displaying acrobatics coupled with his signature mischief. His foe is a wooden toothed, heavily scarred bandit (Nick Chinlund) who together with his band of ugly men, uses heavy handed tactics to terrify the locals. Never mind that there are a hundred candles already lit when Zorro heads home to Elena. There's obviously trouble in paradise and their obvious passion doesn't console Elena that her husband is not ready to hang up his mask for once and for all and be a hands on father.

Despite the fact that Banderas and Zeta-Jones look as though they are munching on an apple when they kiss, there's plenty of charisma between the two and they do make a handsome couple. And eleven year old Adrian as Joaquin is appealing as their son who gets into the equivalent of sword fights with his ruler at school. The Mexican scenery is spectacularly rugged with barren cliffs and vast plains, while the settings of sprawled out villas decorated with richly coloured climbing bougainvillea and ornate gardens are breathtaking.

There are sword-fights, acrobatics, explosions and a thrilling climactic sequence on a steam train involving Zorro and his horse. But it all goes on for much too long, and there's never much at risk - it's all theatrical. Even so, it's hard to shut out that haunting score as you leave the cinema.

There's a satisfying bunch of special bonus items on the DVD, including audio commentary, deleted scenes, multi angle plus four featurettes including one each about stunts and visual effects.

Published June 15, 2006

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(US, 2005)

CAST: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Adrian Alonso, Rufus Sewell, Alberto Reyes, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Gustavo Sanchez-Parra, Nick Chinlund, Giovanna Zacarías, Carlos Cobos, Michael Emerson, Shuler Hensley, Pedro Armendáriz Jr, Mary Crosby

PRODUCER: Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes, Lloyd Phillips

DIRECTOR: Martin Campbell

SCRIPT: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman


EDITOR: Stuart Baird

MUSIC: James Horner


RUNNING TIME: 129 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 2005


SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by director and cinematographer; deleted scenes; 4 featurettes, multi angle

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: June 15, 2006

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