Zorro movies always are better in theory than execution, but this is one of the more enjoyable efforts, because for once, the swashbuckling Spanish superhero is interpreted by the Italians. Therefore, the dish has a slight spaghetti-Western flavor.
French screen idol Alain Delon (Le Samouraï) gallops into town as Don Diego, only to see his governor pal murdered on the orders of the corrupt Col. Huerta (Burt Reynolds look-alike Stanley Baker, The Guns of Navarone). In order to exact his revenge, Diego goes undercover as the new governor, playing him with a wrist-swishing flamboyance, yet dons black mask to become Zorro. Like Batman, he vows not to kill, so he goes absolutely ape-poop with carving Zs into backs and buttocks and, eventually, furniture.
Delon zooms through the action scenes as if they were a ballet, treating canvas roofs like trampolines. In the sandwiching scenes that drive the story, however, he plays the character as comically … well, let’s just say “flamboyant,” in a manner that may not sit all that well with viewers today. They do take up too much of a two-hour running time, which bogs down the overall fun of this old-fashioned adventure. While the film was rated G, I can’t imagine kids today being able to follow it, much less sit through it.
For adults, the grating theme song — which pops up throughout as often as a critter in Whack-a-Mole — practically dares you to sit still, too! Give it a try; there are pleasures to be found, even if none of them look like Catherine Zeta-Jones. —Rod Lott