Despite trying to keep his swashbuckling to a minimum, a threat to California's pending statehood causes the adventure-loving Alejandro de la Vega (Banderas) -- and his wife, Elena (Zeta-Jones) -- to take action.
The original Zorro, Don Diego de la Vega, is captured and imprisoned just as Spain concedes California to Santa Anna. 20 years go by and his mortal enemy, Don Rafael Montero, returns to California with a plan to become wealthy at the expense of the peasants. The original Zorro escapes from prison and trains a new Zorro to take his place. Much swashbuckling and derring-do ensues. Written by
Strikingly entertaining and first-rate in most all cinematic categories, "The Mask of Zorro" is a smart action film that works due to a convincing titled character (Antonio Banderas), the almost unreal beauty of Catherine Zeta-Jones and the professionalism of Anthony Hopkins. Anthony Hopkins starts out as Zorro, but is caught by the evil Stuart Wilson shortly after a wild rescue of three men in the village. Wilson leaves the country and takes Hopkins' baby daughter with him. Fast-forward 20 years and Hopkins has escaped and he begins to teach Banderas (also seeking revenge after the murder of his brother) the way to be a fighter for truth and justice. The baby has grown up to become Zeta-Jones and thinks that she is really Wilson's daughter. A great film that works well due to an adequate screenplay, good characterization and solid direction. A near-perfect success. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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