Proudly flourishing the Z that stands for "zonked," "The Legend of Zero" -- er, "Zorro" -- is dumb like a lox.
It's a full seven years since the original "Mask of Zorro" made Catherine Zeta-Jones a star and Hollywood royalty in the same breath, and nobody connected with this film -- including Zeta-Jones, Antonio Banderas and director Martin Campbell -- really wants to revisit the scene of the initial triumph. So they don't. They pretend to make a Zorro film, when they're really making what feels like a sequel to the dreadful big-screen version of "The Wild, Wild West."
Where's Agent Jim West when you need him? Surely, it's more his part of the forest than Zorro's to stop a mega-conspiracy plot to sunder the United States into Civil War in 1850 by equipping the Confederate states (pay no attention to the fact there were no Confederate states until 1861) with a weapon of mass destruction called nitroglycerine, giving them the impetus to start blowing things up. That will destroy the country, paving the way for some shadowy European one-world outfit to take over.
As this plays out without much in the way of conviction, it seems mostly to involve running around to no good end and not much point. The action sequences -- over-edited, over-stylized and full of acrobatic stunts -- look like a collision between a track meet, gymnastics meet, Spanish club and a costume party.
Campbell serves up . . . nothing. There's just a nonsense plot, too many action sequences of no consequence all festooned on the absurd plot. What a waste of talent, time and money. And guess what else? Not only is "The Legend of Zorro" stupid and boring but -- ta-da! -- it's also really long!
-- Stephen Hunter