It has been 10 years since we first fell in love with the award-winning quirky, comedic spin on the zombie genre known as Zombieland. Directed by Ruban Fleischer (30 Minutes or Less, Venom), the fun-filled, slap-stick feature followed a band of apocalypse survivors trying to make sense of their new world where the dead rise as flesh-eating zombies. Although this cult hit was met with much praise, a sequel one decade later seems a bit random suggesting the possibility of a disappointing cash grab. Did Fleischer strike gold in all the right ways a second time around? Let’s break it down and see how Zombieland: Double Tap stacks up!
Reprising his role as Tallahassee, the gunslinger with an attitude, is Woody Harrelson perfecting the art of shoot first and ask questions later with a comedic twist. However, the lovable whisky drinking good ‘ol boy has forgotten his love for Twinkies in favor of a heavily armed vehicle he names “The Beast.” Returning as Tallahassee’s polite and overly cautious sidekick, Columbus, is Jesse Eisenberg humorously playing off of Harrelson as if he never dropped character from the first adventure. Avoiding the biggest perils of a sequel made years after its predecessor, Zombieland: Double Tap unites the entire cast bringing back Emma Stone as Wichita and Abigail Breslin as Little Rock making this family of survivors complete.
Opening with a narration by Columbus welcoming us back to Zombieland, we’re given an update on how this makeshift family and their zombie infested world is fairing after all this time. Making The White House their new home, the snarky group is going through normal family growing pains in their not-so-normal world. Columbus is in a relationship with Wichita, which is becoming quite serious … at least on his end. Tallahassee has taken up the role of a father figure to Wichita’s sister, Little Rock. However, being the youngest of the psuedo-family, Little Rock is becoming restless for meeting people her own age.
The White House is not big enough to contain some developing tension that finally snaps, leading Witchita and Little Rock to take up their old grand theft auto ways. When the sisters meet a hippie pacifist named Berkeley (Avan Jogia), Little Rock runs off with her prince charming who’s armed with peace, love and guitar. Regrouping with the boys, Witchita, Columbus and Tallahassee embark on a rescue mission facing four types of zombies along the way.
Classified by their characteristics and abilities, the varying kinds of zombies help save Zombieland: Double Tap from becoming too repetitive. Serving as a harmlessly dumb yet entertaining walking dead is “The Homer,” obviously deriving its name from The Simpsons. However, some have evolved into problem solvers earning them the classification of “Hawking” named after the brilliant physicist, Stephen Hawking. Others, known as “Ninjas,” have become more agile and stealthy making them silent, but deadly. Unfortunately, with the exception of a new kind of zombie that’s nearly indestructible, this does not become as pertinent to the story as one might hope.
Although zombie classifications shake things up a little, this feature is steered further away from becoming a full-on Zombieland repeat with the introduction of new blood. Zoey Deutch amplifies some of the humorous moments bringing freshness to the screen as a bubble-headed blonde named Madison who has only survived the years by hiding in a mall refrigerator. Also making a significant appearance is Rosario Dawson (Rent, Clerks II) as Nevada who seems to be a perfect match for “tough guy” Tallahassee.
With returning Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who are also known for Deadpool and Deadpool 2, Zombieland: Double Tap has similar chuckle evoking moments and light-hearted humor … but nothing side-splitting. There are fun-loving scenarios and plenty of explosive, over-the-top action making this surprisingly more entertaining than expected. However, some opportunities are missed along the way in a world where our Zombieland surivors seem to face no major threats as the film unfolds detracting from most moments of suspense.
Driven by the outstanding cast while offering nods to the original paired with some new elements, Zombieland: Double Tap stays clear of disaster territory making it worthy of a one-time viewing. However, it falls short of the goofy suspenseful craziness captured so well in the original. But to be fair, that bar was set pretty high.
[usrlist “2.5 out of 5 stars:2.5”]
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