You probably remember that comedic zombie killing gang we all learned to love from “Zombieland.” Ten years later, they’re giving you a double dip of the fun, and are back on the big screen for another round of laughter, guns and zombies.
It’s been a decade since the events of the last movie, and Tallahassee (played by Woody Harrelson), Columbus (played by Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (played by Emma Stone), and Little Rock (played by Abigail Breslin) have finally found a seemingly permanent home in the White House. But when Wichita gets antsy after Columbus proposes, and Little Rock runs away with a boy she’s just met, soon the gang are on the run once more to ensure each of them are out of danger.
“Zombieland: Double Tap” is the type of sequel you hope for when you hear a beloved movie is getting a long overdue follow up. All the principal cast members, writers, and even the same director as the first movie return to deliver this blissful comeback. Despite a whole decade elapsing since “Zombieland,” the moment the film begins, it feels like not a single day has gone by. The actors slide right back into their roles, and it’s a joy to see them again.
Eisenberg seems to have built his entire career around playing neurotic, detail obsessive characters, originating with his turn in the original “Zombieland.” And he’s doing the same thing here, but it’s still funny, and he’s still good at it.
That’s a rather fitting description for the film. It’s like going back to a restaurant you enjoyed as a kid; the menu’s the same and the staff hasn’t changed, but it’s still good service and the food’s still delicious. You’re not getting anything too different this time around, with the same emotional character arcs of Tallahassee learning to let go of being a protective father, and Wichita getting over her attachment issues. The writers tried incorporating some spice in the narrative by giving Columbus and Little Rock new ditzy love interests, but it’s just new window dressing on the same plot.
That’s not to say that the film lacks creativity. While the comedy skips back and forth between hit and miss, when it hits you’ll be laughing your guts out. And the action incorporates humor while still keeping you on the edge of your seat, which in lesser hands would have led to mood whiplash. The highlight of the film might be the fight scene in an Elvis themed hotel, which is shot and edited to look like it’s all in one take.
It just could have used another script draft. Early in the movie, Columbus explains that in the years since the infection first spread, a newer, harder to kill type of zombie has emerged. You would think this is a plot point, but it’s only important in one fight scene before being promptly forgotten as the team mows down subsequent zombies by the hundreds with ease.
But those minor issues aside, this is a welcome return that brings back the charm, silliness, and exhilaration you expect if you’re a fan of the first. It’s a largely brainless movie — ironically enough — but this is a successful sequel that is perfect for the Halloween season.
Three and a half stars.
- Delivers the same fun and zombie killing action.
- Excellent casting.
- Lives up to its predecessor.
- Basically the same movie as the first.
- Script rushes through some characterization.
- Not everything set up is paid off.