The Legend of Zorro (2005)

DF-09483_rv4_aThe creators of “Legend” have decided to take what made the first film so good and turn the sequel and its story into another “Spy Kids” rip off. Well, not so much “Spy Kids”, but a shameless rip off of “The Mummy Returns”. Male adventurer and female damsel both evolve into settled individuals that happen to have a son who is clever, smart mouthed, and both mutter at some point a variation of “My dad is going to kick your ass” to the grizzled villain. The derivations are so damn shameless that I felt bile of sheer disgust starting this film. The fact that the creators felt the need to add a snot nosed little brat who is there simply as one giant walking cliché, to make the film more “exciting” as merely just obvious pandering to a younger crowd, is condescending, since you figure Zorro did much of that already.

But presumably, the addition of a child to the story of Zorro is really just a sloppy hint that he will indeed carry on the mantle of Zorro in “Son of Zorro”, since the child can mysteriously achieve physical feats such as riding a horse, flipping, fencing, and fighting (and other deus ex machinas), all of which took his father hard training to master, if you can believe that. Alejandro and Elena have divorced this time around, which leaves us to be subjected to many, many, many scenes of the two bickering incessantly ad nauseum, which becomes repetitive since we saw much of that in the first film performed with much more grace, tension and chemistry, not to mention it’s irritating since it’s basically arguments based around soapy melodrama.

The two characters, one an independent firecracker, the other, a peasant turned warrior, become nothing more than really petty characters who argue, and snipe, and grimace at one another without anything remotely interesting happening during the 150 minute running time of this lame sequel. Zorro is drawn into the background while we focus on the bickering of the two exes while Alejandro subjects himself to humiliation to win back his wife (Don Diego would roll in his grave!), and the “rambunctiousness” of Joaquin who is pushed into the center as our hero. Meanwhile we see two new characters that are given considerable focus just to juxtapose the bitter divorce presented with Alejandro and Elena, and none of it ever really makes for compelling drama or action or comedy.

As for the action scenes, they’re there, and they’re few and far between, and I was saddened to see the director wasn’t intent on giving us the same charismatic choreography we saw in the prior. Why make a sequel that really doesn’t add to the legend of Zorro, yet just repeats much of what we saw in the first film and excels at brutally predictable plot twists and characters? If you’re looking for films that add to the legend of Zorro with compelling storylines and wonderful action, look no further than the first film, or the Douglas Fairbanks, Tyrone Power, or Guy Williams installments, but if you want something that merely treads water while rehashing much of the material we saw in the first film, then “Legend” is proud to do nothing with the source material.