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Zorro- The Complete Series DVD Review

“Zorro” is good old fashioned cheesy entertainment.

For those that aren’t familiar with the 1990 “Zorro” series (not to be confused with the classic Disney series), it was an 88 episode/4 season low budget show that starred Duncan Regehr as the famous swordsman/scientist/defender of the oppressed Don Diego de la Vega/Zorro. The series isn’t a modern day interpretation and is set in 19th Century Spanish California. Don’t expect a serious series, however, as it is essentially similar in tone to the equally cheesy “Xena” and “Hercules”.  Viewers can expect to see plots involve Don Diego’s family, the villainous Alcade hiring people to capture Zorro (such as an inventor) townspeople, Zorro helping townspeople, tavern keeper Victoria, Sergeant Mendoza, scammers, people trying to find Zorro’s real idenity, an evil tax collector named Gilbert Risendo, romance, injuries, Felipe (Zorro’s mute assistant), bandits, murders, bounty hunters, criminals, and, of course, the Alcade (there are 2) up to no good.

While the show’s central conflict of Zorro battling Alcade over and over definitely gets old after awhile (especially in the dull season 4), the show still manages to be mindless fun most of the time for a variety of reasons. First of all, Duncan Regehr is rather charming in the lead role. Initially, I wasn’t sure he could carry the show, but he manages to do so with ease. Secondly, the action delivers. While the low budget does hamper the show a bit, there’s still plenty of exciting swordplay throughout. Lastly, the guest appearances are what really make the show worthwhile in my eyes. It’s a blast seeing appearances by the likes of Adam West, Warwick Davis, Jesse Ventura, Roddy Piper, Andre The Giant, and James Bond himself- Daniel Craig. Where else can you see Jesse Ventura as a pirate?

On the downside, I can’t say the show’s scripts are exactly award worthy. For some odd reason, the episodes are only 22 minutes. Usually, drama/action shows are hour long shows, but that’s not the case here. As a result, the stories are often very rushed as they have to cram a lot of story into 22 minutes. Another problem? It’s clear the show was drug out in its fourth season. It’s ridiculous that no one knew who Zorro was by that time. It’s just like the problem “Smallville” has in trying to keep Clark Kent’s identity a secret to people for 10 seasons.

Summary: “Zorro” is simply mindless entertainment. It’s worth watching if you want to sit back and enjoy a cheesy action series.

For those looking for cleaned up picture quality, I’m sorry to say that you will see none of that here. The fullscreen picture quality looks pretty much like it aired. Expect to see grain, dull colors, and some dirt specs.

The Dolby Digital Stereo audio track is sufficient, but nothing to ride home about.

A lot of the time, these big TV shows sets offer little in the way of extras. That’s not the case with this set. In addition to a photo gallery and trailers for “Zorro’s Fighting Legion,” “Zorro’s Black Whip,” and “Zorro Rides Again,” there are 3 major extras here. The first is the 28 minute part 1 of the “Zorro’s Fighting Legion” serial adventure. The quality is so-so, but the serial has its moments. The second major extra is the 22 minute alternate pilot episode for the 1990 “Zorro” series which contains a different Zorro (this one played by Patrick James) and other different cast members. For the most part, let’s just say it’s not hard to see why changes were made here. Last, but not least, is the feature length silent film “The Mark Of Zorro” starring Douglas Fairbanks. While outdated and a little goofy to be sure, it’s still an entertaining silent action flick.

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March 8, 2011 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , , , ,

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