In 1998 The Mask of Zorro was released to critical success and moderate box office numbers. It was considered one of the best portrayals of the fictitious, heroic vigilante ever seen. That's probably why seven years later the sequel, The Legend of Zorro, made its way to theaters. With Antonio Banderas (Desperado) once again in the lead role and Catherine Zeta-Jones (Entrapment) also returning, the movie had all the ingredients to be successful. Unfortunately, as with so many sequels, it didn't see the same box office returns as the first film, and critics didn't seem to offer as much praise to this second helping. However, fifteen years after its release Sony Pictures has decided to offer Legend, along with Mask, in 4K.
Ten years after Zorro defeated Don Rafael Montero, the people of California are finally voting to become the 31st state in the United States of America. Of course, a group of bandits tries to steal the ballots but Zorro steps in to save the day. Elena (Zeta-Jones), however, is less than pleased when her husband, Alejandro (Banderas), refuses to give up his alter-ego, Zorro. After a fight, Alejandro leaves and a few months later Elena sends him divorce papers and takes up with an old friend, Armand (Rufus Sewell; The Man in the High Castle). However, not everything is quite as it seems and Zorro once again must fight to save California and his love, Elena.
Director Martin Campbell (GoldenEye) once again returns to lead this talented cast but the results aren't as successful as the first time. For starters, the story isn't as good and number two, the action sequences are far too long and overly ridiculous. Campbell and the writers tried to put too much into one film and the result is an overblown romantic, action, adventure that seems to have a touch of ADHD.
The 2160p video quality is clean and sharp for the most part but unfortunately, the transfer suffers the same fate that The Mask of Zorro did, in so much as some of the backgrounds look fake with the enhanced quality. The HDR, however, helps to make up for it with blooming colors that definitely pop. The Dolby 5.1 Audio seems crisp and clear for the most part with a decent balance between special effects/ambient noise and the dialogue. The Digital HD has only two extras which are the Director's deleted scenes and Armand's party featurette.
As I stated in my review of The Mask of Zorro, Banderas was an excellent casting choice and his chemistry with co-star Zeta-Jones is palpable. The young boy who plays their son, Joaquin (Adrian Alonso; Under the Same Moon) is rather cute and handles his scenes well. Sewell plays an excellent villain and this role is no exception. His facial features just naturally lend themselves to think of him as evil and he also pulls it off.
All in all, The Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro are two of the better versions of this 100-year-old tale. However, the second film doesn't stack up to the first and I'm honestly glad there wasn't a third installment. Having said that, If they could get a good script together and find a dashing, young Hispanic actor to play the role, all they would need to do is wait about 10 years so Banderas could play the elder statesman passing on the torch to a younger man just like Anthony Hopkins did with Banderas in The Mask of Zorro. Certainly food for thought.
On that production note…if you plan to own The Mask of Zorro, You might as well get The Legend of Zorro as well since they are a set.