Oh yes, it’s summer … that time of year when a movie is considered to be “decent” if it doesn’t bite your head off with its bad dialogue or insult your intelligence with its poorly contrived situations. “The Mask of Zorro” is another example of a movie that is considered to be “decent” or “watchable” because of the depths to which its summer colleagues sink. There’s the ever unwatchable, Michæl Bay-testosterone-driven-cut-to-death “Armageddon” or his little sister “Deep Impact” with her tug-at-your-heart, miserably constructed storyline. Let’s not forget about our big summer sequel, the tired, boring, insultingly stupid “Lethal Weapon 4.” Oh, the depression …
There is some hope though … “Saving Private Ryan” is a definite Oscar contender, as well as the soon to be released Sam Raimi film “A Simple Plan” … but I must digress … back to “Zorro”.
On paper “Zorro” looks like a definite winner. Antonio Banderas is the best version of the modern day swashbuckler Hollywood has to offer. Anthony Hopkins is usually good, as well as Stuart Wilson and relative newcomer Catherine Zeta Jones has a very strong stage background. So why does the movie just sit there, with no real emotion? Well… nothing really works on any level above mediocrity.
Yes, there is some decent swordplay and there are a few scenes that work comedically and Banderas has a certain amount of charm, but the film contains nothing on any deep, emotional level. No real chemistry between Banderas and Zeta-Jones. Stuart Wilson is just awful as the villain and Hopkins is just barely believable as Zorro’s father figure. Obviously this is a summer film, so one would not expect anything too deep … but why is this? Why is it that we allow a film a certain amount of latitude because it happens to be released between the months of May and August? Are our senses deadened because of the intense heat? If so, than what is the excuse of the French? They seem to eat this summer s**t up!!!
Enough ranting … overall “The Mask of Zorro” does work on a few levels, just not many and certainly not enough to garner a recommendation. If you must go see a film, go see “Godzilla” … oh, wait … that sucked too.