After ten years, Zombieland has become much more comfortable with its character. Their charm hasn’t dissipated as the narrating hero of Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) has grown loose enough to break that fourth wall and welcome us all back into the theater for more goofs and gore. While his family of gun-toters still have the right zip to crack jokes while they crack undead skulls, they’re putting in overtime for a script that throws more cartoonish asides at them than meaty characters and scenes.
More Frills and Kills
There’s certainly enough going on to warrant a return. Columbus has been dating Wichita (Emma Stone) for the longest time and figures it’s about time they get married. Of course, Columbus forgets there are rules to this world and everyone has their own set of priorities. His most important rule is Cardio. Witchita’s is to never get too attached, an understandable rule in the zombie apocalypse. But how can he help it? When zombie-killing has become second nature and looting a mostly deserted United States is a pastime, he can’t help but think of the future.
Clearly love is in the air for the group. Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) has grown from a little girl to an angsty teenager, eager to ditch her group and find some friends. Or a guy. Or a hippie who can play music. The goatee sporting Berkley (Avan Jogia) will do fine. Except he simply will not do for the cocky Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), not ready to give up being a father figure. He claims his love is only reserved for cool cars. But Tallahassee may change his tune when he finds Nevada (Rosario Dawson), a woman who loves Elvis just as much.
Escapades in End Times
Many years back, a pilot was developed for a Zombieland TV series and never went further than that, mostly because it was a spin-off. Had the series gone further, its final flailing season may have looked like this. While there is certainly a central theme, the film mostly meanders around sitcom-style situations.
At one point, Columbus and Witchita breakup after she gets cold feet for a marriage proposal. He then happens upon Madison (Zoey Deutch), a dumb blonde that seems to have literally been thawed out of hiding like a caveman. In the same way that Burkley exists as a one-note hippie joke, so too is the fate of Madison. She is chained to a script of obnoxious-dope one-liners.
Another aside features Columbus and Tallahassee encountering their semi-exact doubles on their adventures. They exchange rules and chat about their favorite music and movies, amazed at how much they have in common. This is funny for about one scene. It then overstays its welcome to the point that the movie will put this predictable chemistry out of its own misery.
Brains Better Bashed
Of course, the film isn’t without its giddy gore and there’s plenty more zombie action to be sure. Lots of gruesome kills are present with lots of blood and guts. The Zombie of the Week award also returns, this time with two entries. How is Columbus aware of these various kills across the globe, including Italy? Who knows and who cares. The kills are silly enough sights there’s little questioning this contest.
What is worth questioning is why the film doesn’t build on much. At the beginning of the film, we’re introduced to new zombie designations. There are smart zombies to dumb ones. Sure, we see the dumb zombies, dubbed Homers, pop up but what of the Ninjas? Designated as such because they’re silent and deadly, lying in wait to kill, Ninjas are never seen past their intro. Then what’s the point? Their very existence feels as though they’re from another horror movie entirely. Why even introduce it? It’s just as much of a tease as the skyscraper of a hippie commune that never once topples or succumbs to a zombie invasion.
Double Tap takes one more dip into this world and more or less confirms that this zombie comedy bit is dead. Despite a few smiles, the mostly meandering film finds little more than funny episodes of a show on its last legs. Even a few post-credit cameos only offer mild amusement for their absurdity. Hopefully, this franchise doesn’t need a triple tap to confirm the kill.
Zombieland: Double Tap
A mildly fun but unneeded sequel.
- Great Characters and Wit
- Fast-paced Script and Action
- Some Gruesome Violence
- One-note Side Characters
- Some Jokes Are Duds
- Too Many Asides That Rarely Hit