Publicity Stills of "Legend of Zorro"
(Courtesy from Columbia TriStar)

Genre: Action/Adventure/Romance
Director: Martin Campbell
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rufus Sewell
RunTime: 2 hrs 10 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.net/movies/thelegendofzorro/

Release Date: 27 October 2005 (ONE DAY before the US RELEASE DATE of 28th OCT!)

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Alejandro de la Vega (Antonio Banderas) promises his wife and young son, Joaquin that he would retire but a former beau of Elena's re-appears, and a plot is uncovered that would forever change the course of history.

Alejandro De La Vega (Zorro) is forced out of retirement when a crafy and charming French aristrocrat, Count Armand, arrives on the shores of Old World California with the objective of destroying a newly established United States of America. His weapon of choice is a volatile new invention, Nitroglycerin. To make matters worse, the Count has splintered Alejandro's happy home by stealing the love of his life, Elena.

Only the legendary Zorro can foil the Count's plot to ignite civil war, and win back the love of his beautiful wife, Elena De La Vega.

Movie Review:

Our favourite swashbuckling masked hero is back – after a hiatus of 7 long years. The characters have since aged a decade, Zorro aka Anthonio Banderas have apparently piled up a little on the chin and Catherine Zeta-Jones have gracefully aged a little in real-life, wonderfully intertwined with their on-screen characters saving the need for any significant make-up effects.

This time round, Alejandro de la Vega (Zorro) is faced with a mid-life crisis of his own in addition to saving the peril California territory. His often-rescued missions deprived Elena and their young son’s precious family time thus resulting in the displeased Elena for serving him a divorce notice to end the marriage. To make matters worse, Elena’s ex-admirer, the French aristocrat (not surprising it’s the French as villains again) Armand (Rufus Sewell) comes into the picture insisting on making Elena his wife. And so our hero has to juggle between getting back his wife and saving the country. The stakes are raised higher to guarantee absolute entertainment.

While “The Mask of Zorro” focused more on the apprentice and master’s relations, “Legend of Zorro” touches on the love-hate relations of the couple. It’s a pity the great Anthony Hopkins never appeared in a cameo here as in sort of a flashback. At least, we can spare the need to worry about a campy appearance spoiling the whole broth. Anthonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones fortunately maintained the sizzling chemistry they shared in the first. Regardless it is a witty banter or a simple exchange of eye movements, the couple easily has the audience hoodwinked and engaged. Add in the talented 10 years old Adrian Alonso (this cute Mexican boy doesn’t speak a single word of English prior to the filming) who plays their son, Joaquin the trio is immensely likeable.

Director Martin Campbell (“Goldeneye”, “Vertical Limit”) who is no stranger to major action sequences shot “Legend of Zorro” with a generous dose of wide angles (a trend most Hollywood movies should follow) that pretty much of the nifty swordplay and action sequences are clearly executed before you. If there’s one thing I wish to nitpick is none of the violence in the original are duplicated here. Hardly a trickle of blood is shown and much of the injuries happened off-screen. The result of trading in for a friendlier rating in the U.S. (The movie is rated PG instead of the usual PG-13 in the states.) Nevertheless, the action is quick, swift minus the punch.

Look out for the exciting finale whereby Zorro and his loyal sidekick, Tornado fends off the villains on top of a moving train. Aided by the special effects guys from WETA, the end result is a marvellous combination of miniatures and good old-fashioned swordplay.

“Legend of Zorro” truly warrants a whipping good-licking fun time. Although slicing off a couple of minutes off the 2 hours running time will be a plus. Overall, one of those rare sequels that are actually as good as the predecessor. However, that doesn’t implies I’m hoping for “Son of Zorro” though. Director Martin Campbell had a winner in his bag. Let’s hope he can score for “Casino Royale” too next year.

Movie Rating:

(Overall, one of those rare sequels that are actually as good as the predecessor)

Review by Linus Tee

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