The Mask Of Zorro

on July 17, 1998 by Lisa Osborne
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   "The Mask of Zorro" delivers on its promise of action, romance and adventure and is a surefire summer blockbuster. Don Diego de la Vega (Anthony Hopkins), the masked man himself, has just escaped from jail where he has waited for more than 20 years to avenge his wife's death and recover his daughter Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who was stolen and raised by his mortal enemy, Governor Raphael Montero. He's also looking for a successor: a young Zorro. Although his chosen prodigy--an unruly robber named Alejandro Murieta (Antonio Banderas)--seems an strange selection, Murieta soon proves that he has the head and heart for the job. Like de la Vega, Murieta is motivated by revenge as he mourns the death of his brother at the hand of Montero's henchman Captain Harrison Love. Add Elena, a beautiful, spirited woman to the mix and the sparks start to fly.
   The movie is a voyage of discovery for Elena, who finds herself attracted to a charismatic nobleman, a young priest and a dashing masked rogue--fortunately, all incarnations of the same man, Murieta. She must also learn the truth about the man she calls `father' and the masked man who gave her life.
   The casting is great. Hopkins, Banderas and Zeta-Jones all look the part and breathe life and passion into their roles.
   The whole movie is directed with style, aplomb and a good deal of tongue-in-cheek humor. The sword fights are slick and agile and the pace is taut. This movie contains three-dimensional characters who act for the common good instead of their own, which is quite refreshing. Starring Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Stuart Wilson and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Directed by Martin Campbell. Written by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio and John Eskow. Produced by Doug Claybourne and David Foster. A TriStar release. Action/Romance. Rated PG-13 for some intense action and violence. Running time: 134 min
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