Don Diego returns from Spain to his family in California to find that his father has been replaced as ruler of the area by the dastardly and cruel Don Luis Quintero. Despite being a bit of a swordsman, Diego downplays his skills in front of the wicked Captain Esteban and shows himself to be a bit of a clown in front of his family. However secretly Diego picks up the sword of justice as Zorro and fights to return justice to the region and his people.
I taped this film because I honestly expected it to be a silly film at best; at worst I feared it would be an awful mess of a film that would hopefully make me laugh. However I was very pleasantly surprised to find a film that, although a little cheesy and dated, was actually quite good fun to watch in an unassuming way. The film has a sort of cheesy tone to it that reminded me of badly dubbed movies from Europe in the 70's but this was actually much better without taking itself too seriously.
The story is pretty faithful to the original films and it has recognisable parts in spades. While it is never funny it does manage to be enjoyable in the way it is playful as well as having a bit of swash and buckle about it. While the majority of it only hints at action, the final swordfight between Zorro and Esteban is more fun than I expect it to be (as one who has grown accustom to CGI and so on).
The cast really helps the whole thing to be as much fun as it is. Langella has a habit of being a bit too heavy and serious but here he gets everything just right. His Diego is a comic fop while his Zorro is suitably heroic and upright without being dry or dull. Middleton is reasonable enough but it is the wonderful Montalban who enjoys the best villain role. He doesn't have that much to do at times but he has a good presence about him and has real charisma. It was a surprise to find Anne Archer in the support cast but she is good as well.
Overall this film quite took me by surprise because I enjoyed it. Of course it's not perfect and of course it's all a bit cheesy and silly at times but it enjoys itself and has a real sense of fun about it. The short running time plays to it's quick pace and to it's benefit as I think much longer and the faults would have begun to impose themselves, however as it is it is short, punchy and a lot more fun than I expected it to be!
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