Zombieland: Double Tap review
"Not knowing who Bill Murray is like not knowing who Gandhi is!". This is one of many quotes from Woody Harrelson as a guntoating badass in the horror comedy, Zombieland. I certainly recall this comedy as it not only managed to come out during the height of zombies in pop culture, but it made it its own thing. Zombie comedies are nothing new considering Shaun of the Dead, Warm Bodies, Return of the Living Dead, and even ParaNorman. What helps Zombieland is that despite having a world similar to a lot of other zombie movies, it was able to build it's world more clearly thanks to its rules as imposed by the characters and making the goals simple and easy to identify with. When was the last time you've seen someone whose goal is to get to the Twinkie factory?
While I don't count it as the best of the zombie comedies, Zombieland still made me wonder what adventures these characters would go on in this world. I assumed a TV series would happen, but it didn't. Instead, we got a sequel…ten years later. Timing doesn't matter as much, so lets see if Zombieland: Double Tap can still deliver with the same cast.
Ten years have passed since we've last seen them and they've been holding up in the former white house (rest easy, there's no political jokes). Tallahassee (played by Woody Harrelson), Columbus (played by Jessie Eisenberg), Wichita (played by Emma Stone) and Little Rock (played by Abigail Breslin) have become a close family as they live and survive in a world still infested with zombies. Because three of the main characters are adults, Little Rock wants to meet people her age. This is an odd request that Tallahassee denies. When Columbus finally proposes to Wichita, this scares her into leaving and taking her sister with her.
At first, Columbus goes through depression and then meets a new girl, a ditzy mall girl Madison (played by Zoey Deutch) and tries to move on. But Wichita returns, admitting that when she also denied letting Little Rock into meeting others her age, she ran away. The crew (and Madison) set out to Graceland, which was where Little Rock has wanted to go, where they meet Nevada (played by Rosario Dawson) who reveals that she was seen joining a hippie to a gunless commune. They make their way to the commune, along with a major hoard of zombies following behind.
Some might look at this and already get a sense of "more of the same". In a way, I think a lot of people are going to expect "more of the same" in Zombieland: Double Tap and that’s also what I wanted…and it was fine. I can't go as far to call it great, but with this setup, are there a lot of great things that can be done? I still laughed a lot more then I thought and enjoyed a good zombie killing or two. I think how this turns out will depend on what you were expecting.
Story wise, the goal is still simple; to keep the family together. There's no talk of ending the zombie outbreak or trying to recreate society. It's still all about the characters survival. Zombieland has always worked on that and returning director Ruben Fleischer knew not to stray too far or get too emotional. Despite being a horror movie, I count this as a comedy first, especially when you realize that, like a lot of comedies, this has more of an episodic feel (which is why I always thought this would be good for TV). This did lead into more of an unpredictable plot which is a welcome change.
If I had to demerit this movie, its that the jokes are hit and miss. This is hard to talk about with comedies, but because their subjective, what I may find unfunny may be hilarious for someone else. For example, there's a moment where the main characters come across similar versions of themselves (clearly a homage to Shaun of the Dead), which didn't get much of a laugh, but the people I saw it with seemed to like it.
I'll give this four Twinkies out of five. As long as you weren’t expecting a lot out of a second Zombieland, then I think you'll just be as happy as I was. Come see it and happy hunting!.