Mask of Zorro
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A lusty and rousing adventure, this calls to mind those glorious costume dramas produced so capably by the old Hollywood studio system--hardly surprising, in that its title character, a de facto Robin Hood in Old California, provided starring vehicles for Douglas Fairbanks and Tyrone Power, the '50s TV hit, and dozens of serials and features. Zorro, a pop-fiction creation invented by Johnston McCulley in 1918, is given new blood in this fast-moving and engaging version, which actually works as a sequel to the story line in the Fairbanks-Power saga, The Mark of Zorro. A self-assured Anthony Hopkins is Don Diego de la Vega, a Mexican freedom fighter captured and imprisoned just as Spain concedes California to Santa Ana. Twenty years later, he escapes from prison to face down his mortal enemy, a land grabbing governor played with slimy spitefulness by Stuart Wilson. Too old to save the local peasants on his own, he trains bandito Antonio Banderas to take his place. Much swashbuckling ensues as Banderas woos Catherine Zeta-Jones, becomes a better human being, and saves the disenfranchised rabble. Director Martin Campbell wisely instills a measure of frivolity into the deftly choreographed action sequences, while letting a serious tone creep in when appropriate. This covers much ground under the banner of romantic-action-adventure, and it does so most excellently. --Rochelle O'Gorman
Top Customer Reviews
I was introduced to Zorro when I was a kid by my dad. Watched the movies, was Zorro for Halloween in grade two, played dress-up around the house—I’ve always had a soft spot for the swordsman in black. Even dressed up as him again at Halloween eleven years ago.
He’s the historical Batman—side note: depending which Batman origin you read, the movie theatre that Bruce Wayne and his parents left that fateful night was showing a Zorro movie—and packs a punch as deadly as the best of heroes.
This movie was the first time I saw Zorro on the big screen. What a cool opening with him walking against a spotlit backdrop and doing his famous Z-slash across the screen. And they got right into the action, too, showing us the first generation Zorro’s last adventure and using that as a catalyst to the main story to bring in a new one.
I was especially impressed with the swordplay in this. I mean, it had to be good, right, because that’s Zorro’s thing. There was no way the filmmakers would fall short in this area, above all else. The costume looked good, too, and they didn’t try to be all fancy and stylize the thing. They kept it simple just like it would’ve been in long-ago California.
The writing was real good, with a strong story.Read more ›
Don Diego De La Vega, so aptly, and elegantly played by Anthony Hopkins, is Zorro, a nobleman who disguises himself in order to fight for justice on behalf of the peasants of California.
On the last day of the tyrannical Don Rafael Montero's tenure as Governor, Zorro appears before the wondering eyes of the two orphaned Murrieta Brothers, Joaquin and Alejandro, as well as a crowd of peasantry to fight one last battle on behalf of the wrongfully condemned before the Dons leave for Spain.
Little does the benevolent Don Diego realize that he is enjoying the last hours of a tranquil home life with his beautiful wife and infant daughter; for his identity is discovered, and along with his soldiers, Don Rafael ( played by a devious Stuart Wilson, who always makes a great onscreen villian), comes to arrest De La Vega. De La Vega's wife, Esperanza (played with joyous and affectionate solemnity by Julia Rosen) who was once courted by Don Rafael, is killed by a soldier while pleading for her husband. The De La Vega's crying infant, Elena, is kidnapped by Montero, the mansion looted and burned, and the unfortunate De La Vega condemned to wallow in the filth of a prison for 20 years.
The story picks up in 1841 with the Murrieta Brothers now wanted bandits working with fellow outlaw, Three-Fingered Jack, played by L.Q. Jones, who has a crafty turn of phrase every so often. A confrontation with the U.S.Read more ›
Enter Antonio Banderas.
Old Zorro trains Antonio's character into the all new and all hot Zorro. Planning to use him as a tool in revenge, he discovers that Antonio/Zorro also has a revenge in mind. He wants to kill the man who 'keeled' his brother.
In another plot twist, Anthony/Zorro's daughter has been raised as the daughter of his mortal enemy. And she's hot. Of course, she and Antonio/Zorro must meet. Every Robin Hood needs his Maid Marrian.
This movie is fun, funny, and full of some really cool sword fighting scenes. There is this really gross part where you see someone's head and hands in some jars, but it's over quickly.
I would totally recommend this movie to anyone who likes action/adventure with a little romance.
"Mask of Zorro" sparkles. It tingles with a furious energy. This is entertainment at it's best, and don't see that as a bad thing. I think the last thing any of us would want is an overly "deep" or ponderous Zorro. On the contrary, this film flows like a tango and never stops. It's colorful, passionate, and unflinchingly displays Old California beautifully (and I must say, as a transplanted Californian, it's wonderful to see it so vibrantly and truthfully captured on screen, even if it's the 1800s, it still hasn't changed). But true to style, even since the first Tyrone Powers flick and the Guy Williams series, this film doesn't hesitate with throwing military and social injustice in your face and bombarding you with squeamishly violent or gruesome screen anecdotes. They like you to get the idea that Zorro needs to work very hard to save all those violently mistreated, maltreated, beaten down people (and what a makeup job they did on those extras). And as usual there's a power hungry tyrant (as was the norm politically back then all over North America), who is willing to make up an elaborate plot and step on as many people as necessary to get his way. Add a pretty lady, and Anthony Hopkins as the real Diego de la Vega which works beautifully in getting the audience to accept Banderas as a new Zorro. We've never seen a mature and graying Zorro before, played by Hopkins, so it's very easy to accept the apprentice, played by wonderfully by Banderas who charismatically does his duty in the role.Read more ›