No Zero for Zorro
I don't remember ever watching any of the original Zorro movies yet so iconic is the character that even before watching "The Mask of Zorro" I knew enough about him to be able to slip into this without wondering what is going on. And to be honest this latest incarnation leads those with limited knowledge of Zorro in with a tale of the past and then handing the reigns over to a new hero to don the famous Zorro mask. "The Mask of Zorro" delivers what you would expect from a Zorro movie, plenty of swashbuckling action and some nice touches of humour to make it an entertaining ride of action and adventure.
Zorro is a hero to the people; he protects the weak and fights injustices only the rich detest him. After an unfortunate event in his personal life, Don Diego de la Vega (Anthony Hopkins - The Edge), the man behind the mask disappears from the scene for 20 years. He is brought back into action when he meets Alejandro (Antonio Banderas - Assassins) a troublesome bandit who has such passion and promise that he takes it on himself to transforms Alejandro into his successor as a new Zorro to help stop the reign of tyrannical Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson - Lethal Weapon 3) whilst at the same time taking vengeance for destroying his family and ruining his life.
The plot to "The Mask of Zorro" is to be honest quite predictable, it follows 3 routes. You have the master teaching the pupil what is right and wrong, which has been used in countless movies over the decades. You then get the story of vengeance, where Don Diego de la Vega looks to get revenge on Montero for all the injustices he has suffered at the hand of the dictator. And finally there is a romance story between Elena and Alejandro just to spice things up. Although, none of these are breath taking plots, the writer and director have done a very good job in blending them into a nice 3 part movie.
The character of Zorro in "The Mask of Zorro" is played by both Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas, each of whom give it their own interpretations. Hopkins plays the role with a sense of dignity and poise making Zorro a very mystical hero, where as Banderas makes Zorro a much rawer character that has passion and wears his heart on his sleeve. You then have Stuart Wilson as the tyrannical Don Rafael Montero, the leader who could quite easily be compared to Dick Dastardly. And finally you have Catherine Zeta Jones as Elena, who delivers a solid and attractive performance. What is very appealing about the characters in "The Mask of Zorro", is that not one takes them self too seriously and each one can provide subtle humour within a scene.
Director Martin Campbell has done a good job of directing "The Mask of Zorro", drawing on all his talents to make it an enjoyable adventure. Having previously directed such movies as "GoldenEye" and "Vertical Limit" and at the time of writing is linked with the next James Bond movie "Casino Royale".
What this all boils down to is that "The Mask of Zorro" is not greatest action adventure you will every watch, but it is still better than many other contenders. For me the best part is that it does not take itself too seriously but in the same breadth does not solely rely on humour to keep the audience in their seats. The storyline is more than adequate and the performances of the cast are enjoyable.