starring Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rufus Sewell, Nick Chinlund
screenplay by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman
directed by Martin Campbell
by Walter Chaw It's Amblin Entertainment's version of Once Upon a Time in the West, which only serves as a reminder that it's been too long since the last time you saw Once Upon a Time in the West. Martin Campbell's dedicatedly underwhelming The Legend of Zorro goes through the motions of knock-off action sequels like this with a tired fidelity and--until a semi-sadistic conclusion--a squeamishness about enemy casualties that smacks of that peculiar morality for which there's ever an acceptable way to portray mindless carnage to the kiddie set. I'm not saying your moppets should be shielded from the ugliness of the world, I'm saying that should they witness someone getting pushed off a thirty-foot tower into a cactus patch with the tip of a sword, they ought not be shielded from the consequences. By the umpteenth time Campbell uses the classic "A-Team" tactic of showing the bad guys crawling away from a scene of mayhem in a slow-motion, "Hey, no harm done" shot, you don't feel comforted by the innocuousness of the thing so much as coddled for being a ninny who doesn't understand that more harm's done in assuring your kids that frenetic swordplay never results in somebody getting hurt.