Though it reunites the stars and director of the rousingly old-fashioned swashbuckler THE MASK OF ZORRO (1998), this unnecessary and overlong sequel fails to recapture its predecessor's zing. The year is 1850; Elena and Alejandro de la Vega (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Antonio Banderas) have been married for 10 years and have a son, Joaquin (Adrian Alonso), who loves his papi but worships people's-hero Zorro, never imagining that they're one and the same. California is on the verge of statehood, which carries the promise that its citizens can forever cast off the yoke of old-world class distinctions and oppression, thus putting Zorro out of a job. That would suit Elena fine: She wants to spend time with the husband she adores and worries that Joaquin a bratty chip off the old block scarcely knows his father. When Alejandro balks at relinquishing his do-gooding alter ego, Elena's fiery temper triumphs over her innate good sense: She serves him with a bill of divorce. Alejandro goes on an extended bender while Elena takes up with recently arrived, aristocratic French vintner Armand (Rufus Sewell, affecting a wandering accent), who professes the utmost enthusiasm for America's democratic experiment and who knew Elena many years ago in Europe. Naturally, all is not as it seems: Clandestine forces are at work to thwart California's entry into the union. Their public face is Jacob McGivens (Nick Chinlund), a fanatical racist thug with a cross-shaped scar burned onto his cheek and a mossy set of wooden teeth. But the conspiracy goes deeper and higher, all the way to an ancient secret society called Orbis Unum. Before the story wends its way to a terrific runaway-train sequence, screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (of TV's notoriously over-plotted Alias) have stirred Pinkerton men, land grabs, Southern aristocrats, secret meetings, a mysterious explosion and a hidden railroad spur into its thick stew of complications. While the film was released with a PG-13 rating, the follow-up was softened to a PG, which means the action sequences are not only bloodless, but staged for a kind of comic, Road Runner-style mayhem that makes PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL (2003) look brutally realistic. The sequel is also overly reliant on child-friendly gags see Zorro's noble horse get drunk and smoke a pipe! and cedes too much screen time to 10-year-old Alonso, a chubby-cheeked child actor whose precocious, petulant Joaquin could use a good slap.
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- Released: 2005
- Rating: PG
- Review: Though it reunites the stars and director of the rousingly old-fashioned swashbuckler THE MASK OF ZORRO (1998), this unnecessary and overlong sequel fails to recapture its predecessor's zing. The year is 1850; Elena and Alejandro de la Vega (Catherine Zeta… (more)