1998’s “The Mask of Zorro” is a masterpiece in action filmmaking. With phenomenal fight and stunt sequences, lovable heroes, and
venomous villains; it was easily among the best popcorn entertainment of that year, and of that decade.

Seven years later, we finally get a sequel. And after seven years, you would think they could have found a better script.  “The Legend of
Zorro” has a horrendously conceived plot that creates contrivance after contrivance to merely justify its own existence. Where its 1998
counterpart was a romantic tale of love and revenge, “Legend” boils down to a domestic dispute and terrorism. The tone constantly clashes
with itself as if trying desperately to appeal to all ages. The antics of Zorro and Elena’s child in particular are unnecessary and annoying
Some of the humor is also surprisingly juvenile. Say, for instance, when Zorro’s horse smokes a pipe.

Director Martin Campbell, who also directed the original, tries his best to inject some life into the troubled material with some well-shot and
choreographed action sequences. It is only during these sequences that the movie gains some life. Campbell has always been good at
shooting fight scenes and he does an admirable job here as well. It’s unfortunate that the visual effects are not up to his grand vision
during, well… any scene involving fire or trains.

There is also some abrupt editing, which is surprising considering that the film is way too long to begin with.

And although “Legend” has some above-average action, Campbell doesn’t have nearly enough to escape the rest of the film that falls so
flat. Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones are reduced to endless bickering and the villain and his plot are completely uninteresting.

Of all the elements, James Horner’s score is the only one that stands up to the original film. Even if Horner doesn’t introduce very many
new elements, at least it retains the original’s spirit.

In the end, “The Legend of Zorro” is your typical failed Hollywood sequel. It’s a shame too, because the original was a great film. This
however, is a tiring and boring film that should sufficiently wipe out the franchise for the foreseeable future. Until then you can stick a
sword in Zorro, because he’s done.

* 1/2
(out of four)
Directed by: Martin Campbell

Written by: Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones,
Rufus Sewell

Cinematography by: Phil Meheux

Music by: James Horner

Released: October 28, 2005; 126 Minutes