Belated sequels and soft reboots are often an object of derision in popular culture. To many, they’re emblematic of Hollywood running out of creative ideas, often a way of falling back onto something successful they did in the past. There aren’t a lot of exceptions to this rule, but “Zombieland: Double Tap” is a refreshing sequel that satisfies the audience with plenty of laughs and unique style.
The film is set 10 years after the events of “Zombieland” (2009), where a group of survivors roam a land full of zombies (complex plot, isn’t it?) and follows Tallahassee (Woody Harrleson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) and Wichita (Emma Stone) on their journey to find their wayward friend. The film’s narrative follows the fractured love between Columbus and Wichita, as well as Tallahassee’s parental desire to help his post-apocalyptic family. However, the draw of this film is its off-the-wall comedy and quotable dialogue.
Ben: Anti Zombie
While this film succeeds by the standards of a soft reboot, that isn’t exactly a high bar to clear. The movie comes across sloppy and rushed at times due to bizarre editing, baffling scoring and some strange directional choices.
The editing of the film comes across careless and inconsistent, sometimes holding shots too long and cutting so quick it could give the audience motion sickness. At one point, the director, Ruben Fleischer (“Venom”), attempts a single-shot action scene. But there are still numerous poorly hidden cuts that ruin the flow of the scene. The over-editing leaves the movie feeling short and rushed.
For a comedic thrill ride like “Zombieland: Double Tap,” a bland score like this one is completely unfitting and feels more at home in a serious drama, such as “The Post” or “Bridge of Spies.” This movie’s score consists mostly of inoffensive, tensionless strings occasionally including mildly interesting percussion. When the gang finally arrives at Graceland, the scene is completely robbed of any weight due to a generic melancholy score. A percussion and ambient, heavy soundtrack would have fit much better in this film.
The direction of the “Zombieland: Double Tap” is confusing, daring and downright weird. The use of constant narration by Jesse Eisenberg gives the films a storybook feel, as if the story was being told to the audience by a traveling bard. This is one of the greatest strengths of the direction. However, the director is far more focused on the big picture and neglects the small details, leading to some bizarre line deliveries and shot compositions. While most of the dialogue is flowing and real, some of the deliveries were stilted and awkward, leaving certain scenes seemingly inferior.
Sam: Pro Zombie
If there’s one thing “Zombieland: Double Tap” does exceedingly well, it’s over-the-top fun, zombie-exterminating violence. The original had creative kills, action-packed sequences and brain-bashing gore, which the sequel took but then decided to snort cocaine along with it.
The film proves bigger can be better, especially if it doesn’t take itself seriously whatsoever. For Yahweh’s sake, there’s a kill in this film where someone takes a car jack and topples the Leaning Tower of Pisa onto two zombies — not 50, two.
The writers, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (“Deadpool,” “Life”), knew exactly which direction to take the story, and boy did they deliver something insane. The story itself is a touching look at how family life can be in a zombie-infested apocalyptic world where anyone can die at any moment.
The performances in this movie solidify it as the fun, enjoyable zombie flick it set out to be, with the main trio giving equal parts comedic and serious performances. Yet, every other actor in this film gives it their all. In particular, Zoey Deutch (“Why Him?,” “The Politician”) gives one of the funniest performances in the film. She takes a character that could’ve been an annoying blight and turns it around into a hilarious and charming one.
One of the other new additions to the film is Nebraska, played by Rosario Dawson (“Sin City,” “Rent”), a rough and tough woman running an inn dedicated to the king himself, Elvis Presley. Her character is the female “Walker Texas Ranger,” and the only problem with it is she isn’t too present within the plot, with a screen time of only about 15 minutes. Yet, she squeezes the most she can in those 15 minutes and makes her mark on the film.
Audiences can feel the pure joy and campiness while watching this film, and it’s apparent every actor clearly had tons of fun while making this film. Yet, to fully experience this off-the-wall wackiness, the last three minutes of this film capture the essence of camp. Let’s just say it’s the type of fun the sequel to “Caddyshack” deserved.
“Zombieland: Double Tap” feels like a relic from 2009 in the best possible way. It’s a raunchy, unpredictable comedy that doesn’t feel too gross or gratuitous in its execution. While this film is undeniably flawed, it is, nonetheless, a comedy thrill ride well worth the watch. One last note — fans of Bill Murray, watch this film.
“Zombieland: Double Tap,” rated R, is in theaters.