Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Premise: A sequel to the 2009 film. Ten years after getting together, the survivors of a zombie apocalypse have grown weary of each other’s company. When Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) takes off in search of people her own age, the rest of the group pursues her.
What Works: Zombieland: Double Tap successfully recaptures much of what viewers enjoyed about the first movie. The 2009 picture was distinguished by its humor and unusual filmmaking techniques and colorful characters and Double Tap maintains those qualities. The core cast returns and they are still a likable group. The filmmakers take advantage of the ten years that have elapsed since the first film and use the passage of time to give the movie some substance. Little Rock, played by Abigail Breslin, was twelve years old in the previous movie but she is a woman now and wants to live her own life. Columbus and Wichita (Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone) have been a couple for a decade but their relationship has hit a plateau and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) yearns for the freedom and excitement of the open road. These characters are distinct and each of them is given a particular personality flaw to overcome. New to the sequel is Zoey Deutch as Madison. Deutch throws herself into the role of an airheaded young woman and she is really funny. Double Tap also adds a few new ideas to the zombie genre; the characters end up at a pacifist settlement that rejects weapons. This is something we haven’t seen in the genre and it adds an additional challenge to the climax.
What Doesn’t: The original Zombieland was lightening in a bottle that the sequel is unable to fully recapture. Double Tap has the first film’s on-screen text and the stylized violence but what’s lacking are the authentic human moments. The friendships of the original picture grew organically but in Double Tap those emotional moments come across forced. The plotting is also sketchy. The movie is only ninety-nine minutes but it is very padded. Several of the set pieces are just diversions, especially an extended sequence in Graceland where Tallahassee and Columbus meet a pair of doppelgangers played by Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch. This sequence and others are entertaining and funny but they don’t advance character or plot.
Bottom Line: Zombieland: Double Tap is an acceptable sequel. It does not have the surprise or the heart of the original picture but these characters are still likable and the movie is made with sufficient energy and showmanship to carry it through its flaws.
Episode: #772 (October 27, 2019)