The Mock of Zorro - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Mock of Zorro
by

“I needed that scratch to awaken me.”

 -Tyrone Power in The Mark of Zorro

Hooray for Hollywoke. Where once it steered viewers leftward with pedestrian liberal propaganda, it’s now hastening the already mass movement of Hispanics to the right by ruining its most legendary hero. The franchise-imploding CW (see WalkerKung Fu) will soon showcase a new version of Zorro, only with — prepare for the shock — a woman in the title role. This latest attempt at feminist appropriation utterly disregards the macho culture of Hispanics and hence can only backfire.

Just the logline for the project displays the profound ignorance and colorblindness of its concocters: “A young Latinx woman seeking vengeance for her father’s murder joins a secret society and adopts the outlaw persona of Zorro.” A recent Politico poll found that the term “Latinx” not only leaves Hispanics cold but outright offends 40 percent of them. They much prefer the gender-distinctive Latino and Latina. This result stems from the Latin respect for traditionalist gender roles now driving their flight from the progressive dream of a minority Rainbow Coalition free of white men.

Yet even this documented reality cannot penetrate the closed minds of Hollywoke. Desperate for survival in a suiciding industry, they construct progressive Frankenstein monsters out of pre-existent beings — Superman, Walker, Texas Ranger, Kwai Chang Caine, now Zorro — that only repel the “peasant” audiences. But they never pay the price for their failure because their intentions were politically correct. Ironically, the man behind the new Zorro knows better.

A longtime hack auteur, Robert Rodriguez achieved success by indulging Latino machismo in films such as DesperadoMachete, and Machete Kills. These are basically Mexican exploitation movies, only higher budgeted and Americanized for U.S. appreciation, with the gratuitous sex and violence intact. Rodriguez’s work caught the attention of fellow exploitation lover Quentin Tarantino, with whom he collaborated on From Dusk Till Dawn and Grindhouse. But the days of such sexy crowd-pleasing entertainment ended last decade, replaced by mandatory leftist virtue signaling.

Unlike Tarantino, who has more talent and the clout to defy Hollywoke pressure (he laughed off snowflake cries of sexism in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Rodriguez must toe the new line. The result is the upcoming Zorro travesty, with his sister, Roberta Rodriguez, filling the required female quota as co-writer and director. In fact, neither Rodriguez could have created Zorro, only diminish him.

In the ridiculous game of “can you woke this?”, it’s no longer enough for Zorro to be portrayed by a Hispanic actor. Even Antonio Banderas, who played the hero in two films (The Mask of ZorroThe Legend of Zorro) in the ’90s and ’00s, would today be criticized as a Spaniard appropriator the way Javier Bardem was for playing Cuban Desi Arnaz. As a Latino myself, neither I nor my Cuban best friend growing up gave a hoot about the Zorro star’s ethnicity. Like millions of kids, we loved Guy Williams’ TV incarnation in Disney’s Zorro.

The greatest movie sword fight of all time is between Tyrone Power and Basil Rathbone in the greatest swashbuckler ever made, The Mark of Zorro (1940). It’s an incredible display of athletic swordsmanship, beautifully directed, choreographed, and edited, and executed by two brilliant actors at the height of their physical prowess. Rathbone was an expert fencer in real life and once remarked that Errol (Flynn) would always get the girl, but he would always be able to skewer Errol through the heart.

Even the lead-up to the duel is exciting. Former fencing master Esteban (Rathbone) — not suspecting his “gay popinjay” opponent Don Diego (Power) is Zorro — deftly slices a candle in two with his foil. Diego makes the same move on another candle, which remains conspicuously standing. As Esteban laughs, Diego lifts the top half of his candle, revealing how skillfully he cut through it. Esteban then comprehends that he is in for a hell of a duel, and so does the audience — which more than gets its money’s worth. No woman would be the least convincing for more than two seconds of this fight. But that won’t prevent the Rodriguez siblings from putting a bunch of stuntmen through their idiotic paces and having them pretend to fall helplessly before chick Zorro’s ineffectual blade to the complete disinterest of any viewers.

And there’s something else the Zorro gender transformation must lose, as endemic to the character as his panache — romanticism. For Zorro has always been a sex symbol to women, the mysterious bad boy lover, ready to whisk them away from convention. That’s why 20th Century Fox cast its top box-office lover, Tyrone Power, in The Mark of Zorro — and the strikingly beautiful Linda Darnell as his romantic lead. Much of the fun of the picture comes from Lolita’s (Darnell) disdain for the effete, trouble-avoiding Don Diego while she longs for the dashing masculinity of Zorro.

In a delightful dance scene, the increasingly impassioned Diego almost forgets himself, and sweeps Lolita off her feet, to the culturally appropriate Mexican song, El Sombrero Blanco. Once again, a female Zorro cannot come close to such a romantic dynamic, and the CW’s version will be as sexless as its other heroes. The main thing she will lack is an audience, and in particular a Hispanic one.

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