A sequel a little too desperate to emulate the success of the popular Mask of Zorro but not quite sure how to go about it, The Legend of Zorro is as shapeless and uninspired as the original was elegant and sure of itself. A charismatic Antonio Banderas returns in the title role, but the movie is all over the map — part feature-length domestic squabble between Banderas and romantic interest Catherine Zeta-Jones; part kiddie flick with a little Zorro Jr. popping up from time to time; and part Hispanic Indiana Jones, with Banderas' masked avenger swinging from ropes and leaping off ledges at every opportunity. It's all hung on a plot — something about tampering with California's bid for statehood in order to benefit the Confederacy — that's a bit too dry to care much about. The production looks great and much of the action is good, mindless fun, but there's little here of the classic mythmaking of the Zorro film that preceded it. Also stars Rufus Sewell.
The Legend of Zorro (PG) Opens Oct. 28 at local theaters. ** 1/2