The Mask of Zorro

Tomorrow, I will post my review of DiAnn Mills’ new romance, Awaken My Heart. She says she wrote the hero, Armando, after Zorro, with whom she fell in love as a young girl. Armando doesn’t wear a mask or cape, but is the same kind of caring leader and handsome romantic hero.

So to get you in the mood for Armando, here’s my Zorro review:

The Mask of Zorro, 1998

When the peasants need a fast-riding, swashbuckling, acrobatic hero, Zorro comes to the rescue. His beautiful black horse steps into place at his whistle. When two boys help scatter the enemy, Zorro thanks them by giving one of them his necklace.

Anthony Hopkins’ Don Diego de la Vega, known to the peasants as Zorro, is well-acquainted with victory and supposes he won’t need the mask for a while. Out of his Zorro costume, Diego relaxes in a loving embrace with his wife when the enemy shows up at his house for an untimely attack, killing his wife and burning down his house. Diego’s baby daughter is taken away to be raised by his mortal enemy, Don Rafael Montero.

The two boys grow up and are chased by soldiers until one dies. Antonio Banderas plays Alejandro Murrieta who takes his dead brother’s necklace and sets out for revenge. Diego finds Alejandro too drunk to win a fight and notices his necklace. Alejandro agrees to be taught by his hero, Zorro.

The story of the two men is the passion of the movie. A father without a son and a son without a father. An older hero training the new hero. A master preparing the student for victory and for honor.

Later, when Diego finds his long lost daughter, he sets out to tell her the truth. When she realizes that one father stole her from the other, her allegiance is divided.

Alejandro tricks his way into Montero’s mansion for a party where Montero will unveil his plan to rule California and be free from Santa Ana. At the party, Catherine Zeta-Jones’ character, Elena, falls for Alejandro.

His dance with Elena is one of the best parts of the movie. Sure, he does a lot of sword fighting – and he’s really good at it – but the dance is why women rent this movie.

The tempo of the movie picks up and the Zorros, both young and old, show up at very convenient times and places. The fighting mixes old standby swordsmanship with unique locations and acrobatic help. Of course, in the end, just when you think Diego is too wounded to win a sword fight, he uses his wits to overcome Montero. I loved how the Zorros' heroic qualities were displayed. They're both creative, caring, and brave. And they show a sense of humor.

The fire in Alejandro’s eyes made this movie. But I loved Anthony Hopkins’ acting, too. The movie would make a Zorro-lover out of anyone.

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