Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
"The Mask of Zorro" has something you don't often see in modern action pictures: a sense of honor. The character takes sides, good vs. evil, and blood debts are nursed down through the generations. It also has a lot of zest, humor, energy and swordplay; it's fun, and not an insult to the intelligence.
The movie resurrects a character first played in silent films by Douglas Fairbanks Sr., and again on TV in the 1950s by Guy Williams, and launches him in what the producers no doubt hope will be a series. The director, Martin Campbell, did the Bond picture "GoldenEye," and in a sense "The Mask of Zorro" is a Bond picture on horseback: There's the megalomaniac villain, the plan to take over the world (or, in this case, California), the training of the hero, the bold entry into the enemy's social world, the romance with the bad guy's stepdaughter, and the sensational stunts. There's even the always-popular situation where the hero and the girl start out in a deadly struggle and end up in each other's arms.
All of this action is set in Mexico and California as it was in the first half of the 19th century, when the evil Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson) rules the land, chooses peasants at random to be shot by a firing squad, and earns the enmity of the mysterious masked man Zorro.
In an opening setup, Zorro interrupts a public killing, inspires the population, and escapes back into domestic bliss. He's played by Anthony Hopkins, who in his daytime identity as Don Diego de la Vega has a beautiful wife and child. But Don Rafael invades his home, his men shoot the wife, Don Diego is imprisoned, and Don Rafael raises the daughter as his own.