Saturday, July 27, 2013
Day Two Hundred and Eight - The Mask of Zorro, "It's hard enough to get Mexican-American heros on the Silver Screen..."
I say that, but it's still a good thing to have Antonio Banderas, still a rising and bankable star in the 90's, bringing forth the old Californian pulp hero, Zorro... a Latino hero who has almost always been played by Anglos.
For the most part, my favorite memories of Zorro don't center around the Disney adventure series or the Douglas Fairbanks films, but on George Hamilton and Zorro, The Gay Blade... which is, sadly, not available on Instant Stream.
Still, Martin Campbell managed to produce a gritty, oddly realistic portrayal of Spanish and Mexican-America that still had a lovely tinge of romance and panache.
I especially liked Banderas' transformation from the filthy thief to the elite and cultured swordsman needed to inherit the mantle of The Fox, not to mention the wild exuberance and physicality of Catherine Zeta-Jones' Elena Montero/De La Vega. They both portray their characters with grace and heated sensuality.
Pulpy goodness that it is, though, The Mask of Zorro leads you by the nose from plot point to plot point, with there never being any real mystery or suspense. You never get the feeling that the good guys won't prevail or that the leads won't fall in love. It's all very much rote and predictable.
It's hard to argue, however, with the fun (and practical!) action sequences and just the right amount of comedic beats to keep the non-vengeance related fight scenes light-hearted and the actual vengeance fight scenes serious.
There just needed to be more intrigue!
I think I would've much preferred if they'd made it into a mini-series or full season prime-time soap opera with the same level of production value so as to draw at the suspense and make the romance between Alejandro and Elena out to be more that just a few short sequences of lusty passion.
But, when you know, you know, I suppose... when your soul mate arrives.
The Mask of Zorro definitely holds up as an adventure flick and has very few faults to contrast its plucky swordfighting and fiery romance. If you haven't yet checked it out, I can certainly recommend it... especially if you're a fan of pulp adventure.
I just wish The Gay Blade was streaming.
Until tomorrow, Potatoes~