REVIEW: THE LEGEND OF ZORRO

CAST

Antonio Banderas (The 13th Warrior)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Entrapment)
Adrián Alonso (Cristiada)
Rufus Sewell (A knight’s Tale)
Nick Chinlund (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Julio Oscar Mechoso (Jurassic Park 3)
Michael Emerson (Lost)

In 1851, nine years after the events of the first film, Don Alejandro de la Vega is married to Elena and has a son, Joaquin. California is voting on whether to join the United States of America as a state. Zorro foils a plot to steal ballots. During the fight with a gunman named Jacob McGivens, he briefly loses his mask. A pair of Pinkerton agents sees his face and recognize him. The following day, the Pinkertons confront Elena and force her to divorce Alejandro. Three months later, Alejandro is living in a hotel. The separation from Elena and the feeling that the people no longer need Zorro are taking its toll on him. His childhood guardian, Father Felipe, convinces him to attend a party at French Count Armand’s new vineyard. There, Alejandro discovers that Elena is dating the count. After leaving the party, Alejandro witnesses a huge explosion close to Armand’s mansion and becomes suspicious of him.

McGivens leads an attack on the family of Guillermo Cortez, Alejandro’s friend, to seize their land deed. Donning his mask again, Zorro rescues Guillermo’s wife and son, but fails to save Guillermo and the deed. Zorro follows McGivens to at Armand’s mansion and discovers that Armand plans to build a railroad on Cortez’s land. Zorro encounters Elena, and learns of an upcoming shipment. He tracks McGivens to a cove where the cargo is delivered. Unbeknownst to him, Joaquin also hitched a ride on McGiven’s cart, having sneaked out of a class trip. Zorro saves his son from the bandits. Examing the shipment, he sees a piece of the cargo, a bar of soap, and the name Orbis Unum from a crate lid.

Felipe and Alejandro then learn that Armand is the head of a secret society, the Knights of Aragon, which has been secretly ruling Europe. The United States is deemed a threat to the Knights. Thus, they plans to throw the country into chaos before it can gain too much power. Alejandro is then captured by the Pinkertons. They reveal to him that they forced Elena to divorce Alejandro and get close to Armand and learn of his plans. Joaquin frees Alejandro from captivity. Zorro goes to Armand’s mansion, meets Elena, and eavesdrops on Armand’s meeting. He learns that the soap bars contain glycerin – a precursor to nitroglycerin. Armand plans to distribute the substance throughout the Confederate Army, with the help of Confederate Colonel Beauregard, to destroy the Union. Zorro and Elena reconcile, and Zorro prepares to destroy the train carrying the explosives. McGivens arrives at Felipe’s church to look for Zorro. Unable to find him, McGivens shoots the priest and kidnaps Joaquin.

At the mansion, Armand is informed by his butler, Ferroq, about Elena’s deception. He confronts her and showing her the bodies of the Pinkerton agents. He takes her and Joaquin hostage on the train carrying the explosives, making Zorro unable to destroy it. Zorro is captured and unmasked in front of his son, to Joaquin’s shock. Armand takes Joaquin and Elena away and orders McGivens to kill Alejandro. Felipe, having been saved from McGivens’s bullet by a cross he wears, arrives. He and Alejandro overpower and kill McGivens. Zorro catches up with Armand and they engage in a sword fight. Meanwhile, Elena has Joaquin escape into the back cars of the train, which she disconnects. Elena then fights Ferroq in the nitro storage car. He and Colonel Beauregard are then killed in an explosion.

Further along the tracks, witnessed by a huge crowd, the governor prepares to sign the bill to make California a state. Joaquin collects Tornado, Zorro’s horse, jumps off the train, and follows it. He hits a track switch, causing the train to harmlessly pass around the ceremony. Zorro and Armand’s duel takes them to the very front of the locomotive. Seeing the track is a dead end, Zorro hooks Armand to the train and escapes with Elena. The train crashes into the pile of rails at the end of the track, setting off the nitroglycerin, killing Armand. With Zorro as an official witness, the governor signs the bill, and California becomes the 31st state of the United States of America. Felipe remarries Alejandro and Elena with Joaquin as the only witness. Alejandro apologizes to his son for hiding his identity, and admits that Zorro’s identity is a family secret rather than just his own. With Elena’s support, Zorro rides off on Tornado to his next mission.

The Legend of Zorro has great action, if you like this kind of film don’t miss it and don’t pay attention to the critics.

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REVIEW: THE MASK OF ZORRO

CAST

Antonio Banderas (The 13th Warrior)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Entrapment)
Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Stuart Wilson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
Matt Letscher (Legends of Tomorrow)
Tony Amendola (Stargate SG.1)
Maury Chaykin (Iron Eagle II)

In 1821, Don Diego De La Vega (Anthony Hopkins), a Californio nobleman fights against the Spanish in the Mexican War of Independence as Zorro, a mysterious swordsman who defends the Mexican peasants and commoners of Las Californias. Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson), the corrupt governor of the region, learns of De La Vega’s alter ego, and attempts to arrest him. De La Vega’s wife is killed during the scuffle. Montero imprisons De La Vega and takes his infant daughter, Elena, as his own. Twenty years later Montero returns to California as a civilian, alongside Elena (Catherine Zeta Jones), who has grown into a beautiful woman. Montero’s reappearance motivates De La Vega to escape from prison. He encounters a thief, Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas), who, as a child, once did Zorro a favor. De La Vega decides that fate has brought them together, and agrees to make Alejandro his protégé, grooming him to be the new Zorro. Alejandro agrees to undergo De La Vega’s training regimen in Zorro’s lair underneath the ruins of his family estate in order to be able to take revenge on Captain Harrison Love (Matt Letscher), Montero’s right-hand man, who was responsible for killing Alejandro’s brother, Joaquin.While still being trained, Alejandro steals a black stallion resembling Tornado from the local garrison. De La Vega scolds Alejandro, claiming that Zorro was a servant of the people, not a thief and adventurer. He challenges Alejandro to gain Montero’s trust instead. Alejandro poses as a visiting nobleman named Don Alejandro del Castillo y García, with De La Vega as his servant, and attends a party at Montero’s hacienda. At the party he gains Elena’s admiration and enough of Montero’s trust to be invited to a secret meeting where several other noblemen are present. Montero hints at a plan to retake California for the Dons by buying it from General Santa Anna, who needs money to fund his upcoming war with the United States.Montero takes Alejandro and the noblemen to a secret gold mine known as “El Dorado”, where peasants and prisoners are used for slave labor. Montero plans to buy California from Santa Anna using gold mined from Santa Anna’s own land. De La Vega uses this opportunity to become closer to Elena, though he identifies himself as “Bernardo” the servant, learning that Montero told Elena that her mother died in childbirth. While walking in a market, Elena meets the woman who was her nanny who tells Elena her parents’ real identity. De La Vega sends Alejandro, dressed as Zorro, to steal Montero’s map leading to the gold mine. Zorro duels Montero, Love, and their guards at the hacienda. When Zorro escapes, Elena attempts to retrieve Montero’s map from the swordsman, but he seduces her, leading to a passionate kiss before he flees.Terrified of Santa Anna’s retribution if he discovers that he is being paid with his own gold, Montero, at Love’s urging, decides to destroy the mine and kill the workers. De La Vega tells Alejandro to release the workers on his own so that De La Vega can reclaim Elena. Alejandro sets off, feeling betrayed by Diego’s vendetta. De La Vega corners Montero at the hacienda and reveals his identity, but Montero captures him by threatening Elena. As he is taken away, De La Vega tells Elena the name of the flowers she recognized upon her arrival in California, convincing her that he is her father. She releases De La Vega from his cell and they proceed to the mine, where Alejandro and De La Vega respectively defeat and slay Love and Montero. Elena and Alejandro free the workers before the explosives go off, and then find the mortally wounded De La Vega. He makes peace with Alejandro before dying, passing the mantle of Zorro to him, and gives his blessings for his marriage to Elena. In a closing sequence they are shown to be living together after rebuilding the De La Vega family manor with a son named Joaquín, in honor of Alejandro’s brother.Wonderful movie, visually rich and a nice blend of comedy, action and romance, well-written. Hopkins is great; so is Banderas as Zorro-in-training, and Zeta-Jones sparkles in her scenes with him.