Zombieland Double Tap
Starring Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jessie Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Zoey Deutch, Rosario Dawson, Avan Jogia, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch
Ten years later, cast and crew return for the Zombieland sequel, Double Tap. The better of two sequels opening this week in cinemas, this one builds from it’s original premise without compromising too much of the originality that made it work in the first place. Unfortunately both sequels, Zombieland and Maleficent attempt to recycle plot points so they can end up in the same place they ended last time. Jesse Eisenberg’s narration is equally as annoying as the original, yet it’s the character development and writing that keeps the film out of major disappointment territory. Director Ruben Fleischer found success with Venom last year and in the ten years of work since the original, using those learning curves to make a better looking picture. While it still isn’t as good as the “original”, Zombieland Double Tap will satisfy its core audience craving but unlikely turn any new followers.
Four of the last surviving humans of the 2009 zombie apocalypse have taken over The White House, making it their comfortable home. Tallahassee (Harrelson) and Columbus (Eisenberg) are content with this new insulated life. Wichita (Stone) has settled into a life with the over baring and live-by-the-rules Columbus, but her younger sister Little Rock (Breslin) wants more and a man of her own. So, like they have done previously, the women flee in search of something more, leaving the boys to fend for themselves. As the broken family chase each other from Graceland to Babylon, they discover more survivors than originally thought and come face to face with the latest evolution in flesh eating zombies.
Not all the comedy works, but nearly every scene with Deutch, playing the dumb blond, allows everyone else their best material.
The script mostly adheres to the rules and parameters laid out in the original, Obama was still President in 2009, so his portrait still hangs along the walls and Code Red Mountain Dew was never taken off the shelves. They do mention Soul Cycle like it’s common knowledge, which I am not sure was the case in 2009. Either way the sarcasm between Stone and one of their new discoveries, Madison (Deutch), are some of the films best moments. Zombieland was never a horror movie or even a zombie flick, it’s an action comedy, and never gets too focused on murdering of dead things or saving what’s left of the world. The focus remains on the relationships between the characters and the underlying theme of home and family, which just happens to be during a zombie apocalypse.
The original film felt like Hollywood’s response to the British Shaun of the Dead, Double Tap is more free to do it’s own thing without a direct rival. Leaning in the direction of a stoner film more than the original, Avan Jogia and Breslin are relegated to a smaller subplot so they can do drugs while marquee stars Stone, Harrelson and Eisenberg control the narrative. Not all the comedy works, but nearly every scene with Deutch, playing the dumb blond, allows everyone else their best material. “You know how someone like her survived… because zombies eat brains! And she doesn’t have any!” Tallahassee points out. Zombieland Double Tap doesn’t break nay new genre ground, it also isn’t the ideal Halloween film, but spares itself from the year’s most unnecessary sequel.
'Double Tap' keeps it’s focus on sarcasm, lead actors and developing the characters.