Unlegendary Legend 

Zorro part deux unimpressive

The Legend of Zorro is the worst sort of motion picture. Whereas painfully awful movies can be surprisingly entertaining due to cringe-inducing failures and great movies are simply great, this flick is just a bore. You can't laugh at it, but you certainly won't laugh with it either. The filmmakers attempt to liven up an unimaginative, simplistic plot and one-dimensional characters with all-too-regular action sequences, but even those lack energy and an element of suspense that may have given moviegoers a reason to see the forgettable Zorro.

Alejandro de la Vega (Antonio Banderas) dons his Zorro mask when McGivens (Nick Chinlund), a disgusting but hardly memorable villain, decides to interrupt the vote for California's statehood by stealing a ballot box. The ensuing battle sets the stage for the remainder of the formulaic film by depicting slapstick duels that transform an already sluggish story into an exercise in mediocrity. One of the bad guys lands with his nether regions on a log and another falls into a cactus as Zorro triumphantly returns the ballot box to the governor, who proclaims the people's favor for statehood while seemingly forgetting to count the votes. This poorly executed historical backdrop then fades into the background.

Chemistry is severely lacking between Alejandro and his wife, Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones), as they engage in a dispute about his insistence on being Zorro. She would rather see him discard the mask and help raise their son Joaquin, who happens to be a budding Zorro himself. Alejandro, however, is worried about California's transition to statehood. They divorce and after several months, he discovers that Elena is dating a man named Armand, whom he views with suspicion.

Armand, played stiffly by Rufus Sewell, predictably turns out to be the film's major villain after a series of uninteresting encounters between Elena, Armand and Alejandro interrupt a slowly developing mystery. Armand and his obscure cult are attempting to destroy the United States of America with a secret weapon, which they plan to distribute to the Confederate Army (this is so embarrassingly cliché, but the filmmakers don't seem to realize it). They try to give merit to their ridiculously overblown plot by tapping into our present-day fears of terrorism through Armand's dialogue. This reference, however, adds nothing worthwhile to the movie and is merely a hollow reflection of our real world fears.

The big mystery of the movie is hashed out haphazardly--leaving moviegoers a bit confused--and when the plot hits a dead end, the flick finishes up with an exhausting half-hour action sequence. I was left rolling my eyes in disbelief because I was expected to worry about the fate of our heroes, who, despite being repeatedly faced with seemingly impossible situations, always manage to defeat the villains and escape with their lives. Suspense simply does not exist in the Legend of Zorro. If you are hoping to escape reality and find adventure on the silver screen, don't expect Zorro to deliver. This movie is far more tedious than real life.

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