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“The Legend of Zorro” tones down a bit by fronting the more human issues about family relationships in its storytelling, as compared to the visually purist, action-filled premise driving the storyline for such an action genre offering.
Yet, this follow-up to “The Mask of Zorro” doesn’t lose its own touch of valuable action and playful camera work. The pompous stunts, grand production design, and outstanding cinematography often keep the spectators’ eyes nailed to what happens next.
The film captures the audience right from the opening billboard as it boasts a splendid play of fire and horse shots: marking the very presence of the masked, sword-fighting hero on black. Exposing the struggle for California’s independence, this cinematic piece’s adrenaline rush is well-built towards the vastly choreographed chasing shots. The dose for action gets pushed forward through scenes of seeking freedom and justice; while a more intimate dealing within the family issues of the dela Vegas — Alejandro, Elena and Joaquin — fronts the storyline and makes subtle touches of compassion within the sights and sounds of swords, guns, bombs, kicks, and punches.
The tale revolves around the life of Zorro/Alejandro both as a hero and a family man. In this movie, Antonio Banderras (Zorro/Alejandro dela Vega) enlivens Zorro’s legend from his looks to his moves and overall aura. Catherine Zeta-Jones (Elena dela Vega) makes a perfect Elena. Their tandem looks splendid on screen. Their sword fights further enhance their chemistry. In this installment, Adrian Alonso (Joaquin dela Vega) adds new color to the legend and a new hope for what’s in store for future “Zorro” films.
The antagonistic acts of Count Armand offers minimal suggestions on contemporary issues and events on terrorism; while the feminine strength and individualistic character of Elena radiate a gender-sensitive portrayal in the story. Her oozing sex appeal works side by side her skills in kicking some deserving ass in charming ways, as she works as a spy for two government agents and a loving wife and mother who is always there to protect her family.
The good acting and chemistry among the actors work in validating the movie’s very formulaic storyline. The stunts of the major characters, including Zorro’s horse jumping into a moving train, help the audience overlook the movie’s weaker parts. However, the comic relief rendered by Zorro’s horse who puffs tobacco from Elena’s pipe and drinks alcohol from Alejandro’s bottle turns out quite corny.
The silhouette shots of Zorro and his horse are reminiscent of some Marlboro ads. Some scenes’ special effects, including certain blast shots, look fake and mostly miniature-like.
Together, the three dela Vegas relive “The Legend of Zorro” in this offering. For someone needing a dose of action-packed material in a lazy day, this can be a nice popcorn movie of choice.