Mask of Zorro

9 out of 10


A swashbuckling Mexican "Batman"

Zorro is a swashbuckling hero, who depends, not on superhuman powers like Superman, nor on gadgets like James Bond, but upon talent, swordsmanship and aerobatic gymnastics to stay ahead of his numerous enemies, as he fights to help the poor of Mexico against cruelty and injustice.

And just as Zorro is the totally believable hero we all wish we were, so too are his enemies, lead by the Provincial Governor, Don Raffaello. Indeed, curiously and very unlike Hollywood, all the heroes are supposed to be Mexican, with Banderas himself a Mexican in real life, whilst the only true American in the film is the outrageously nasty Captain Love. Played creepily well by Adam Letscher, this overly smartly dressed head of Raffaello`s army is a disturbed psychopathic serial killer who keeps trophies in glass bottles, a head here, a hand there, and so on. Indeed, my one regret is that Captain Love is killed off and so won`t be returning in any sequel.

This is just the sort of adventure film "they don`t make any more" with the action not depending on things exploding as they do in most action movies, but on real and difficult stunts, including some breathtaking acrobatics on the back of galloping horses. Having said that, the pyrotechnics they did include are quite splendid, particularly when the mine blows up.

Bizarrely, Tri-Star is continuing its tradition of not making the most out of its assets, in this case, Catherine Zeta-Jones who appears almost nowhere in their publicity. Although Anthony Hopkins, as one of Hollywood`s finest Oscar-winning actors, puts in a truly memorable performance, even he looks like a rank amateur against Catherine Zeta-Jones who is utterly at ease with the role as Zorro`s daughter, and her sword-fighting is ten times better than anything Errol Flynn ever produced.

Best Film I`ve seen in ages. Will not disappoint

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett