Movie Review: Zombieland: Double Tap

10 years has kept me desperately waiting for a sequel to the 2009 hit Zombieland. As an avid fan of the brain eaters, the twist on the genre hooked me. Double Tap reunites the original cast along with the first film’s writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, along with including Godzilla writer Dave Callaham, this sweet reunion manages both as enjoyable as the classic while being a pointless return.

After settling in the White House and having fun for a while, the quartet of survivors, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), and the not so little Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) are split into pieces of a Twinkie as the young one wants to branch off to find love like Wichita and Columbus have found. She runs off with a stoner pacifist named Berkeley (Avan Jogia), maybe too familiar of territory when her and Wichita ran away in the final act of the previous adventure, and the crew must get her back before this new way of surviving without killing gets her turned into a zombie.

Revisiting these characters makes it worth going back despite the lackluster story. The chemistry of the group along with their memorable personalities makes every moment funny and heartwarming when things get real during their fun times in the apocalypse.

New characters become a hit or a miss like Berkeley is not the strongest, but he brings something new to the table and same with Madison (Zoey Deutch) as the typical valley girl bimbo who miraculously survives the world ending epidemic. Nevada (Rosario Dawson) felt underutilized, maybe it is the crush I have for Dawson deep down inside of me, but I adored her addition even with the little amount of screen time. Others like Albuquerque (Luke Wilson) and Flagstaff (Thomas Middleditch) were gimmicks to play off of Tallahassee and Columbus’ personalities and dynamic, without giving any substance to the story.

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Columbus and Wichita realizing their annoying, older partner has a younger twin. Via Sony Pictures

As Reese and Wernick grew as writers with Deadpool, along with adding Callaham to the mix, the comedy had the same distinct style as the first with Columbus’ rules, creative ways to kill the undead, and nods to the past. The decade of space between the films did not hinder the tone. I spent some time eye rolling as some of the self-references were painfully on the nose rather than finding a more creative way to bring back iconic jokes.

Going bigger certainly helped out as the robust action had better choreography that lead to more intense battles. I felt the danger more so here, especially with the introduction of Left 4 Dead styled zombie types.

More elaborate set pieces and locations made for a better change of scenery. The time in the White House was a blast along with the road trip to find grown up Little Rock. It makes for a more visually pleasing world to look at as buildings fall apart and some places get built for shelter except for some embarrassing CGI that instead of fleshing out the world, I saw laughable green screened backgrounds and objects added in by computer when it should have a physical prop.

Double Tap suffers mostly because of its predecessor. Gags and jokes had me losing my mind as I laughed continuously throughout, but nothing is as memorable as some of the standout bits from 2009. At least Ruben Fleischer redeems himself as a director after Venom, but could not reach the bar set by himself and his writers.

Score: 7/10

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Images via Sony Pictures

 

 

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