Having just reinvented one literary icon after steering Pierce Brosnan’s debut as James Bond in GoldenEye to huge critical and commercial success, director Martin Campbell’s next project saw him turn his eye towards a character with an even more storied history, one who debuted on the printed page all the way back in 1919.
Showcasing their penchant for crafting tongue-in-cheek swashbuckling years before they penned Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, scribes Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio produced and co-wrote The Mask of Zorro alongside Randall Jahnson in a movie that was part reinvention, part origin story and all action.
Antonio Banderas’ smoldering Alejandro Murrieta is taken under the wing of Anthony Hopkins’ Don Diego de la Vega, the first man to wear the mask. The evil Don Rafael Montero didn’t just imprison Diego for 20 years, but he raised the original Zorro’s daughter as his own to rub more salt into the wound, giving the veteran an even more vested interest in ensuring his protege is up to the task.
The Mask of Zorro is a delightfully old fashioned adventure, bolstered by a string of solid performances and some crackling chemistry between Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. A smash hit in the summer of 1998 after earning $250 million at the box office, it eventually yielded a subpar sequel seven years later.
Forget about that, though, because the massively entertaining first installment is blowing up on Netflix as per FlixPatrol, having shot up the most-watched rankings by almost 60 places.