Zorro -- Banderas makes a great ... Banderas

November 01, 2005|by ANA JANTZ and ESPE MARTINEZ

"The Legend of Zorro" is set in a small Hispanic town in southern California just as the independent state is voting to join the United States. Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is the wife of Alejandro (Antonio Banderas). Rated PG for action, language and suggestive moments; 130 minutes.

Ana: This movie starts out almost OK. We get to experience Zorro's contrived and over-the-top fighting style again as he performs flips, swings by thin ropes, pulls himself up with his whip, fights off six men with his sword and always lands exactly where he needs to.

Espe: Well yes, that's what Zorro is about - being a hero. And being a hero requires skill.

Ana: Once Alejandro gets home and takes off the mask, however, we experience the same contrived situation in his home life. His wife is angry at him for not retiring. His son admires Zorro and believes his father, Alejandro, is weak and not a father at all. Things only get worse.


Espe: I will say that it was a very predictable movie, filled with clich after clich. But overall, I think Antonio Banderas plays a good Antonio Banderas.

"The Legend of Zorro" is a typical Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones action movie. And it includes the popular American stereotype: A French villain tries to destroy America, and the patriotic hero ends up with a beautiful Hispanic woman.

Ana: If you happened to be a 7- to 10-year-old boy, you would probably find this movie enjoyable. There are lots of sword fights, explosions and one-line jokes. There's too much violence for anyone younger, and for anyone older, it is too much like a made-for-TV Disney movie with a bigger budget.

Espe: You're right, Zorro is made for more of a family-oriented audience. But just because that's the case doesn't mean it's not enjoyable.

Speaking of which, I liked how it focused on the improvement of Zorro's family situation and also on his public persona, leaving a balance between the two.

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