Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones

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The sparks between Alejandro de la Vega (Banderas) and Elena (Zeta-Jones) scorched the screen in 1998's The Mask of Zorro. A decade later things have cooled down considerably for the pair: He continues to fight crime anonymously as Zorro, while she spends her days at home raising their son and lamenting, "What happened to the man I married?"

The same thing that happened to this watered-down sequel, which only occasionally matches the original's giddy frivolity. The duo divorce, and Elena takes up with a smarmy French aristocrat (Rufus Sewell) intent on thwarting California's impending statehood, while Alejandro stubbornly tries to woo her again.

Banderas and Zeta-Jones slip effortlessly back into their flirty, fiery rapport, but whenever Banderas dons the mask, he is unable to recapture the devilish charm and swagger that made his first turn as Zorro such a treat. It doesn't help that he's stuck fighting an interchangeable line of bland baddies, who stupidly ditch their rifles and pick up a sword whenever Zorro comes calling. (PG)

  • Contributors:
  • Jason Lynch,
  • Leah Rozen,
  • Maureen Harrington.