“Zombieland: Double Tap” is the result of a ten-year wait cycle – a sequel based on the 2009 movie “Zombieland”. The original was a clever and irreverent ‘Zom-Com’ about four very different people who band together to fight off zombies. It had elements of tension and horror, but only to further the goofy story line and give the characters good quips (example: “Nut up or Shut up”). This new movie takes the same fun and self-aware group and gives them new people to meet, new zombies to fight, and new adventures to have. This might be a formula, but it is one that works very well. The fact that everyone in the movie is ‘in on the joke’ gives it a ‘wink and a nod’ feel to the action comedy. That’s not a bad thing.
In the new Zombieland, the main characters are holding firm in a nice little out-of-the-way place – The White House. Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is an OCD-wrought nervous dweeb who has used his love of lists to create a handy-dandy Rules of Survival. It’s worked out pretty well for him. He is joined by Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) who is a Second Amendment believer with a penchant for taking out zombies with a flourish. With Columbus is Wichita (Emma Stone) who is fellow survivor and intimate friend, plus her younger sister Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). Little Rock is now ten years older than before, and she is tired of everyone calling her ‘little’. Well, it is part of her name, after all…
Columbus tries to propose to Wichita, and she and her sister Little Rock feel that it is time to move on. They leave without warning, so Columbus and Tallahassee try retail therapy. They happen to run into a new survivor, Madison (Zoey Deutch). She is a ditsy blond with more good looks than good brain cells. Tallahassee thinks the zombies would never go after her, because they only want brains. She comes back with them. Madison hooks up with Columbus, because she had been alone for so long. But soon Wichita returns with bad news. Little Rock had met up with a long-haired musician named Berkeley (Avan Jogia), and the two of them ran off to a pacifist commune. Everyone thinks they might be headed first to Graceland, so they load into the only vehicle around – a minivan. Tallahassee is not pleased…
At Graceland, they do not find Little Rock. They do find Nevada (Rosario Dawson) who has a great homage to Elvis in her hotel. She and Tallahassee hit it off really well. Columbus and Wichita are at odds because of Madison being in the picture. But they happen to meet two other zombie-hunters at the hotel. Albuquerque (Luke Wilson) and Flagstaff (Thomas Middleditch) are two other hunters and survivors – both are the Dark Mirror image of Tallahassee and Columbus. The pair trade barbs and quips, as well as lists and commandments. Soon zombies attack and Albuquerque and Flagstaff take a dark turn. Tallahassee, Columbus and Wichita are in a pretty deadly fight, until Nevada joins in to help.
They travel again (always relegated to the stinkin’ minivan) until they can find Little Rock. The find the magical mystery commune called Babylon (or as Madison calls it “Baby – Lon”). Little Rock is in there, along with a huge group on unarmed survivors. But how long can they survive a new zombie attack without any weapons? Will there be anyone who can come to their defense? Will the tongue ever be removed from the cheek? Will the winks and the nods to the audience keep coming?
“Zombieland: Double Tap” is the best possible version of a sequel based on the original. It copies many pieces from the original – but these pieces work very well. The main four actors (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin) are perfectly placed back into these characters. They have great dialog and some witty things to say, plus there are some new adventures and road trips they deal with. The new crew includes Zoey Deutch, Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch – and all of these characters are just right for what they need to be. Rosario Dawson is another nice addition. The writing is very clever – even taking the movie title from one of the list of rules made by Columbus. The director has shown that he has a good grasp on the meta-level self-reference type of humor (and gore) that the movie strives to achieve. Oh, and stay to see if one other cameo from the first movie returns…
“Zombieland: Double Tap” has taken ten years hiatus from the first “Zombieland”. Does this mean that in ten more years these jokers will get together and make “Zombieland: Triple Tap”?
Zombieland: Double Tap
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Written by: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Dave Callaham
Based on Characters by: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch
Length: 93 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for bloody violence, language throughout, some drug and sexual content
Genre: Horror, Comedy