The Mask of Zorro

The Mask of Zorro (1998)

“It isn’t just one man, damn it. It’s ZORRO!”

I’d considered doing away with Saturday Replay as a “thing”, and using the just passed Potter Week+ as a demarcation point, (since I’d seen all eight of those movies before.) Of course, the reason that I came up Saturday Replay in the first place still exists; the point of this blog is to watch new and different movies, but on Satrudays I like to relax and enjoy the comfort of an old favorite. So today I watched The Mask of Zorro.

I’m not sure if I originally saw this movie in theaters, but I do know I once owned it on VHS, and I must have watched it at least half a dozen times. The Mask of Zorro is a fine example of a movie that knows exactly what it wants to be, and meets that goal exactly. It’s an action-packed swashbuckling adventure western, with a light, modern sensibility.

Anthony Hopkins stars as the original Zorro, Don Diego de la Vega. As the film begins, Zorro’s arch-enemy, the Spanish governor Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson) is driven from California, but on the night he leaves he finally discovers Zorro’s secret identity, he arrests Don Diego, and takes his daughter, Elena, as his own. Twenty years later Rafael returns prompting Diego to escape from prison in search of revenge. When he discovers that Rafael has brought the now nicely grown-up Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) along with him, he realizes that just charging in and killing Rafael in a suicidal attempt will not do. He enlists an angry young man, Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas) – who has his own vendetta against one of Rafael’s associates – and trains him to be the new Zorro. From there we have a plot.

Watching it again today for the first time in many years I enjoyed the film, though I didn’t enjoy it enough for me to understand why I liked it as much as I once did. (It might have been as simple as not having a lot of entertainment options, I had no cable TV, and Netflix was still years away.) Still, it’s an enjoyable action movie, and it’s funnier than I remembered. It’s worth seeing.

OM|ED Rating: Worth Seeing