Also known as: Zorro Unmasked, The Return of Zorro, The Mask of Zorro 2, Zorro 2 (working titles), Z (alternative title)
Release Date: October 24th, 2005 (UK)
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Written by: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio
Based on: Zorro by Johnston McCulley
Music by: James Horner
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rufus Sewell, Nick Chinlund, Adrian Alonso
Tornado Productions Inc., Amblin Entertainment, Columbia Pictures, 129 Minutes
“[after making a “Z” mark on Armand] So the devil will know who sent you.” – Zorro
Unlike the previous Antonio Banderas starring Zorro picture, I had never seen this one before and wasn’t sure what to expect.
What I do like is that they got the first film’s director, Martin Campbell, back. However, they replaced the original writers with the dynamic duo of failing upwards, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Those guys have been instrumental in turning once great franchises into Port-O-Lets at a music festival.
Since neither Orci or Kurtzman are actually real human beings with real human being emotions, they completely fumble the ball in regards to the romantic relationship between Zorro and his babe, Elena. In fact, it’s handled so badly that when Elena splits with the kid, very early in the movie, I nearly wanted to turn this off. It was nonsensical, didn’t mesh with who she was in the first film and frankly, Martin Campbell should’ve stood up and said, “What is this?! Fuck this shit!”
Anyway, I stuck around because I wanted to review this and at least there were some things that made me enjoy the film. Although, it does pale in comparison to its incredibly fun predecessor.
For starters, I really liked the kid in this. He was badass, amusing and even if he was sometimes a prick to his dad, he made up for it when the time was right.
I thought that the general story was weak and that’s probably because the rivalry between Zorro and the villain is connected to the breakup of Zorro and Elena because the villain is her new boyfriend. But of course he is, as we’ve got to shit writers that have to follow the easiest path because they might hurt their brains.
What mostly saves this film from being a pile of shit is the swashbuckling action. Banderas is just a fun and cool Zorro and he gets to be involved in some great moments. Granted, I don’t know how much of the action is his stuntman or Banderas, himself. Still, Banderas’ Zorro is one of the most energetic and entertaining incarnations of the character and that’s not going to get diminished by a shit script.
Beyond that, the comedy in the first movie was well-balanced with the rest of the story and it fit. Here, the comedy is nowhere near as polished and this felt like a bad sitcom pilot at times.
Coming out of this, I can see why a third chapter was never made. Although, this has a happy ending and also concludes in a way where it wasn’t necessary to continue the story.