In the land of zombies, the one with the shotgun reigns supreme!
A sequel ten years in the making, Zombieland: Double Tap sees our original protagonists Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and Wichita (Emma Stone) as they continue to live and thrive in a world that is overrun by the undead. Being at this for so long, the gang is starting to hit a bit of a rut, so when Wichita and Little Rock leave Tallahassee and Columbus in the middle of the night to go off on their own, the group’s dynamics are understandably shattered. But with rumors of a newer, faster, stronger and harder to kill zombie popping up across the area, as well as a few new additions to our group of likable survivors that include Madison (Zoey Deutch) and Nevada (Rosario Dawson), it’s time for the gang to get back together before this deadly threat becomes a problem that they cannot defeat alone.
Like the original Zombieland, Double Tap excels when the comedy and zombie killing work hand in hand to further the stories of our protagonists and the problems they run into on a daily basis. Working more as a backdrop to what is going on in the story rather than being what the story is entirely about, the zombies are yet again used in a comedic way to inject some fun filled action into the proceedings, while at the same time giving these characters some sort of minor danger to avoid throughout. It’s clear the filmmakers aren’t concerned with making this a realistic zombie apocalypse where someone could get eaten at any moment and life depends on the next canned food acquired or someplace safe to sleep at night, and that’s okay because instead, the script chooses to focus on the original cast’s dynamics and how said dynamics change when relationships break down and new blood is injected into the mix. The scene with Tallahassee and Columbus’ doppelgangers in particular shows off how much fun the filmmakers can have by adding something new into something old, and then running with that idea until the undead hordes come crashing in.
In the ten years since the original came about, the zombie genre in general has seen it’s fair share of ups and downs, and instead of going into too much detail about the world surrounding our survivors, Double Tap instead opts to dangle the idea of a new, improved and “evolved” zombie into our view, one that at first glance seems to be a huge deal, but ends up amounting to nothing more than an interesting yet unrealized idea by the time the credits roll. As mentioned before, it’s clear that this is a story about the people of the zombie apocalypse, not about the zombies themselves, so this super zombie not being fully explored is a bit of a bummer since this “T-800” is a such a fun and interesting wrinkle in the Zombieland mythos that I would have loved to explore outside of a few action set pieces. In all honesty, and until the final act really, the zombie threat seems more like an afterthought in the grand scheme of things, but when that third act hits, the filmmakers are able to deliver exactly what the entire point of this franchise is: a fun, fast, funny and gory romp into a land full of zombies.
About as good as the first yet slightly less original by default, Zombieland: Double Tap is a fun romp back into a world that makes you laugh more than it scares. The zombie killing is light and inventive, and the cast is as good as ever, but after a while I felt like I was watching more of the same, which to be fair, isn’t a bad thing in this particular case. I don’t know if we necessarily needed this sequel – especially ten years after the fact – but I’m sure glad the filmmakers were able to make it happen. Here’s to less than a decade going by until the next sequel arrives!