Zombieland: Double Tap, 2019.
Directed by Ruben Fleischer.
Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Thomas Middleditch, Bill Murray, Luke Wilson, Al Roker, and Grace Randolph.
Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock return to face off against a new zombie threat, as well as deal with how 10 years together has impacted their family.
There aren’t many sequels that come along 10 years after an original that truly capture the essence and feel of an original, often as they contain only hints and nods towards them. Recently, we’ve gotten a few reboot sequels such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Mary Poppins Returns and Mad Max: Fury Road; by no means bad films, but they do feel distinctly separate to what came before. Whereas Zombieland: Double Tap retains its original cast which was, and still remains, a huge amount of the appeal.
Zombieland: Double Tap starts off with the nerdy and snarky narration of Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) transporting us back into the world of Zombieland, talking about the different zombie types before an opening credits scene that rushes the audience into the action and stereotypically zombie genre violence that worked so well in the original. After shacking up in the White House for a while, Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and Wichita (Emma Stone) react to the overbearing personalities of Columbus and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) by deciding to go out on their own. After Little Rock runs off with hippy stoner Berkley (Avan Jogia), the family go on a road trip to track her down.
In honesty, the plot is primarily a vehicle for the original characters to progress whilst meeting a few new survivors along their way. Spending time with these characters is why there’s a sequel in the first place. Most characters, old and new, get a good enough spotlight to show off their comedic chops, though none more so than Woody Harrelson who seems to be having a rollicking time throughout, charisma exploding into every scene. Stone and Eisenberg play off one another with trademark sarcastic wit, though both are arguably a little too accomplished for this sequel with the intervening years. Rosario Dawson and Luke Wilson both make strong use of their limited time, engaging whenever they’re on screen and present for some of the best shot scenes of the movie.
It is somewhat unfortunate the way the writers treat Little Rock, who is not given much more character development than growing older and running off to be with people her own age. Similar treatment for Zoey Deutch’s character, Madison, who arrives as a stereotyped “dumb blonde”, causes problems and exhibits every dumb blonde trope you could find. It feels like a character you’d see in “Not Another Teen Movie” as opposed to this kind of fare. That said, there are few faults with the film. Its 99 minute run time moves along nicely and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick -fresh off of their Deadpool success- employ some of their old winks and tricks for the audience.
Zombieland: Double Tap is a lot of what we’ve seen before. But that by no means makes it a bad film. They use what worked from the first film, with great references to some of the most famous moments from it (including a mid-credits scene that you should definitely stay in your seat for) and add just enough new elements and characters to keep things feeling fresh. The wheel doesn’t need reinventing when it functions so well; this sequel runs pretty smoothly and, despite a couple a couple bumps in the road, will get you to your destination with a lot of laughs on the way.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★