Columbus Alive | October 27, 2005
Martin Campbell’s belated sequel to his fun 1998 swashbuckler The Mask of Zorro arrives tired despite the seven-year break. As Antonio Banderas’ legendary folk hero jumps around in the opening action sequence, dispatching bad guys with the brim of his hat, the effect is strangely dulling instead of thrilling, and that feeling takes hold for the next two hours.

The story picks up 10 years after the original, when conflict over Zorro’s inability to retire has strained his marriage with Catherine Zeta-Jones’ Elena to the breaking point. Once they separate, the movie badly and blatantly rips off a far superior film, Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious, with the addition of cute youngster Adrian Alonso as the couple’s son Joaquin.

Blackmailed by Pinkerton detectives who know her husband’s secret identity, Elena goes undercover, cozying up to an old schoolmate (Rufus Sewell) with eyes for her and connections to a group of powerful Europeans bent on destroying the United States.

Like its predecessor, the plot also includes a dangerous material hidden in wine bottles. Before he snaps out of it for some late-in-the-game derring-do, Zorro responds by drinking, sulking and playing straight man to his burping, smoking horse.

The sequel still benefits from the genuine chemistry between Banderas and Zeta-Jones, but the plot conspires to keep them apart for much of the film. What’s gone altogether, and is sorely missed, is the fleet, smart, lighthearted feel of the first film. Zeta-Jones’ character has a change of heart about her husband’s sideline, but she’s right in the beginning—Zorro should hang up his mask.

Columbus Alive

Founded in 1983, Alive is the Capital City's oldest and only independent alternative and is known for providing a forum for the area's free thinkers. The paper's spirited and original perspective on music, arts and culture distinguish it from the...
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