Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Download Ex Machina
Before the DVD release on 8th June
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Take a survey for the chance to win an iPad
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
Click poster to enlarge
More posters to select

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Antonio Banderas
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Anthony Hopkins
Rufus Sewell.
Directors
Martin Campbell.
Screenwriters
Ted Elliott
Terry Rossio.
Running Time
130 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
London Road
4 Star Empire Rating
Les Combattants
3 Star Empire Rating
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story Of Cannon Films
4 Star Empire Rating
Poltergeist
2 Star Empire Rating
Return To Sender
2 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Mad Max: Fury Road
5 Star Empire Rating
Still Alice
5 Star Empire Rating
Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke Of Burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Whiplash
5 Star Empire Rating

The Legend Of Zorro
The sword brandishing hero in black is back


submit to reddit


Plot
California, 1850. Alejandro de la Vega (Banderas), the man behind the mask of outlaw champion Zorro, seems to lose his beloved wife Elena (Zeta-Jones) to a scheming French aristocrat, and sinks into drunken despair just as his skills are needed to defend the still-emergent United States.


Review
The Legend Of Zorro
Browse more images »

Sometimes sequels go wrong because some of the key principles who made the first film work are unwilling to return for another go-around, giving rise to limp outings like Son Of The Mask, Speed 2: Cruise Control or xXx: State Of The Union. Sometimes, everyone signs up again but the fizz has gone and you get mild disappointments like Men In Black II and Ghostbusters II. The Legend Of Zorro is squarely in the second camp, which should keep it off the year’s worst film lists, but still means that a couple of months from now you’ll barely remember it exists.

Martin Campbell’s The Mask Of Zorro, which came out in 1998, was a canny rethink of the long-standing heroic character. Positioning itself as a sequel to the often-remade The Mark Of Zorro, it brought on Anthony Hopkins as the aged version of Don Diego de la Vega — the original don-by-day/outlaw-by-night hero of Spanish California — but passed the torch (and the mask) to the earthier, peasant-born Alejandro, played with all the smoulder Antonio Banderas could summon in the late ’90s. This cleverly brought back all the things we love about Zorro, but made him a more down-to-earth, less privileged character. Now, a decade on in plot terms, we find Alejandro has almost forgotten his origins and the script doesn’t even mention that he isn’t the original Zorro — and Banderas’ smoulder has, if not burned out, at least turned down the heat a few degrees too many.

The opening raises the spirits, with a nice introduction for the hero as he casts his vote (with a Z, instead of a cross) in the election which will decide whether California joins the United States, and then sees off a bullying preacher and his band of baddies in a perfectly-judged bit of swashbuckling on a half-built bridge. Then the plot sets in and the tone starts to waver drastically. The previous film got Alejandro together with the fiery Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones), and now they have a chipmunk-cheeked son, Joaquin (Adrian Alonso), who idolises the mysterious adventurer Zorro but thinks his father is a cowardly bore. Elena serves Alejandro with divorce papers (in 1850!) and hooks up with the smarmy Count Armand (all-purpose baddie Rufus Sewell), who claims he wants to found the California wine industry but is actually part of
a conspiracy to launch a terror strike against Washington and kick off the American Civil War ten years early (anyone interested in history will need some smelling salts about now).

The problem is that we want a Zorro who dazzles with swordplay, wit and romantic ardour, but Legend gives us a Zorro who becomes a maudlin drunk when ditched and spends most of the second act moaning, then gets back into action in scenes with too many cheap slapstick gags to be really exciting.  Neither star does much more than touch base with their established character, and we spend entirely too much time with the annoying little Joaquin.

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.


Verdict
Undemanding Saturday-matinee action fun in Old California, but hardly a hot-ticket holiday blockbuster.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Legend Of Zorro
Empire Star Rating

zzzzzzorro

A few reasonable action sequences, but mostly it’s boring, shoddy and try-too-hard unfunny ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 18:02, 24 March 2007 | Report This Post


Zorro has returned

In 2005 I never thought there would be another film made, especially made 8 years after the original. Zorro was fabulous. It's extreme fighting scenes and plotline were much better than the original. Everyone says sequels are never as good as the original but this proves them wrong. Excellent!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tomhemingwaycom at 18:02, 07 February 2006 | Report This Post



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Who Are The New Mutants?
Fox’s X-Men spin-off features a bunch of fresh faces. Here’s what you need to know...

Stoical Supermen: 10 Quiet Heroes That Get Stuff Done
Silent but deadly...

Ana Lily Amirpour On A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
'There's nothing sexier than a vampire...'

Rick Baker: Creature By Creature
The make-up effects titan on his greatest creations

12 Of The Weirdest Things Jean-Claude Van Damme Has Done On Camera
Outside of his movies, that is...

Spooks: An Oral History
Cast and crew on the spy smash

Barbarians And Battletrucks: The Weird World Of Mad Max Knock-Offs
20 diversions along the Fury Road

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month!

Subscribe and save 48%

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device

Subscribe and save 48%

Subscribe now and save up to 69%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)