Zorrita - Passion's Avenger

Own it!

review by Scott Hamilton and Chris Holland
See also:


Zatoichi and the Fugitives

Lady in Waiting

Zorrita - Passion's Avenger

Lava Lamp

Our rating: one LAVA® motion lamp.

Okay, there's the gay part, but
we don't see a blade anywhere.
There are web sites out there devoted to the study of direct-to-video (DTV) skin flicks, those cinematic works that forgo the niceties of plot and intelligible dialogue in favor of a morally casual attitude and certain physical characteristics in its principal actors. The proprietors of such web sites have our respect. Anyone who can sit through this crap night after night is either crazy or hardened like steel against the effects of bad acting. While these (ahem) films may have the advantage in the area of initial titillation, the lack of intellectual substance and acting talent rankles us so badly that we don't care how physically attractive the women are, or how often they shed their clothes. Like a fresh coat of paint on a car that has already rusted through, the initial lure of nudity can only hide the rotten vehicle beneath for a short time.

Zorrita, the most recent offering from Surrender Cinema to grace the shelves of our local video store, manages to be boring and dispiriting even by the standards of DTV nudie flicks. Take our word for it, the video's cover is significantly more imaginative and exciting than anything contained on the tape. Not only is the movie dishearteningly tedious, it also actively offends by defiling Zorro, one of the more entertaining franchises in literature and film.

Who was that masked trollop?
The film begins with a quick primer on the "Legend of Zorrita," presumably for those unfamiliar with classic literature. Zorrita, the silky-voiced narrator explains, is a black-masked female avenger who would visit a stable boy to have sex with him (nudity in the film's first minutes -- always a bad sign), but she would never reveal her identity. Presumably she also fought for justice and stuff, but this movie concentrates on Zorrita's more, uh... topless adventures.

Some unspecified amount of time after the original Zorrita's disappearance, an independent young woman named Bella (Shauna O'Brien) has taken on a position (as a maid, you sickos!) in the house of a corrupt lord named Joffrey. She immediately clashes with the lord and his head housekeeper, which is convenient because they both happen to be evil. The lord is taxing the local town unjustly, including Bella's beloved blacksmith Paulo. Paulo is played by Carlos Milano, who really gives Jeff Moldovan a run for his money in the wooden acting department.

Besides Paulo and Bella's mother (played by a too-young woman in an unconvincing gray wig) the local village doesn’t seem to have any inhabitants. Or streets. Or buildings. Or anything at all. Most amusing is the scene in which Bella goes to see her mother, who has been arrested along with "all of the women in the village." Of course, there are no other women in the jail when Bella arrives, because the producers didn't bother to rustle up any extras. All of the film's exteriors (such as they are) appear to be extreme close-ups of portions of the lord's house. Meanwhile, the interiors of the house look suspiciously like they have been furnished in southwestern contemporary in some strange attempt to recreate the 1830's setting.

Zorro, Zorro, the fox
so cunning and free,
Zorro, Zorro, who makes
the sign of the...X?
Bella reads a book about the Legend of Zorrita and decides that it sounds like a pretty good gig. Bella is already a pretty good swordsman (natch), and as a virgin the idea of seducing men for justice must be pretty appealing. Right, ladies? So she gets a costume from somewhere and becomes the new Zorrita! The Mask of Zorro has nothing on this.

Actually, The Mask of Zorro had everything on this, because Zorrita doesn't deliver any form of entertainment. While most Surrender Cinema films are never going to win awards for their stories, at least the sex usually has some sort of reason for its existence. Here, however, Zorrita gets the drop on the bad guys with her sword (by holding it in their general direction -- there are no action scenes), gets what she needs, then has sex with them just because. Really. We saw the R-rated version, so the sex scenes cut away almost as soon as female nudity was revealed -- not that the simu-sex could have been very graphic in any case.

"Before I became Zorrita?
Crochet, mostly."
To make matters worse, most of the nudity on display is, to put it kindly, unattractive. Shauna O'Brien, a Penthouse Pet from 1992, has a pretty face and a body she obviously works to maintain, but at some point she had what appear to be canteloupes surgically grafted to her chest. Shauna's breasts stand out in such a ridiculously spherical manner that it's impossible to have sexual thoughts about them. One might as well be turned on by a volleyball. (No offense to those who have certain, uh, leanings towards athletic equipment.) Ms. O'Brien apparently did her shopping at the Sam's Club of plastic surgeons.

Swooping in to the rescue, but failing to save the film, are the movie's two other providers of female skin, Vanessa Blair and Nancy O'Neil. Both appear to be unenhanced, and Nancy (as Bella's fellow serving wench and platonic bed-mate) is actually quite fetching in her single nude scene. Ms. Blair is Bella's non-platonic bed-mate in the obligatory faux-lesbian scene and mistress of the house. Her secret history is the film's "plot twist," proving that even after providing us with terrible sex, inexcusably bad dialouge, and some of the worst actors ever on screen, Zorrita's producers could still manage to make their bastard creation worse.

If only the real Zorro would swoop in -- there's some avenging to be done.

Review date: 09/13/2000

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