Zombieland: Double Tap

Posted: November 1, 2019 in Film reviews, Post-Apocalyptic
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Directed by Ruben Fleischer. Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin.

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It’s ten years since the zombie outbreak, and ten years since a bunch of disparate survivors, Tallahassee (Harrelson) Columbus (Eisenberg) Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Breslin) came together as a messed up post-apocalyptic family. They’ve recently been holed up in the Whitehouse, but no longer a child, Little Rock is eager to meet other people and is tired of Tallahassee treating her like a kid. When Columbus proposes to Wichita, the sisters make their excuses and head back on the road, leaving Tallahassee and Columbus to decide, do they go on the road again themselves, and if they do, is it time to break up their partnership?

With the group divided, and a new breed of near indestructible super zombies on the rampage, life in Zombieland has never been so precarious!

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When Zombieland came out in 2009 it was a huge hit, and almost right away there was talk of a sequel. I don’t think anyone expected it would take ten years for a sequel to reach the screen, and given the success some of the cast have had in the intervening time (cough Emma Stone cough) I think the more time that passed the less likely a follow up seemed.

Yet here we are.

I enjoyed it, but I suspect it would have been a far better film if it’d arrived in 2011 rather than 2019.

The biggest flaw is that whilst ten years have passed, the characters (with one exception) haven’t changed. It’s like they’ve been preserved in amber. They dress the same, they act the same, they snipe at each other in exactly the same way…watching a film set in a zombie apocalypse requires a certain suspension of disbelief, but believing that people haven’t changed their look in ten years is pushing it. It’s like no one has grown or developed in any way, as an example Wichita and Columbus have been a couple for ten years, yet she chooses now to get cold feet and he jumps into bed with someone else almost immediately? It’s incredibly jarring.

Oddly the one character who has changed is Little Rock, if for no other reason than the fact that Breslin isn’t a child anymore, yet oddly she’s the one of the four least well served by the script, which doesn’t always seem to know how to use her, and so dumps her in a lazy romantic subplot that in the end goes nowhere.

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I suppose you can understand why they’ve kept the characters the same, and one of the films saving grace is the interplay between the characters, in particular Harrelson and Eisenberg, though Stone’s increasing frustration with the two men is a hoot as well. Eisenberg plays the geeky Columbus to a tee, but as before Harrelson seems to be having the most fun as Tallahassee.

This time he gets some romance with Rosario Dawson’s Nevada, who kicks some serious butt, and there’s amusement to be had from Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch as Albuquerque and Flagstaff, but the standout new character has to be Zoey Deutch as blonde bimbo Madison. Deutch’s comic timing and delivery is spot on and frankly she’s a hoot.

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While some set pieces fall a little flat, there’s still a lot of fun to be had—and please stay for the end credits, sadly the surprise was spoiled for me but trust me, it’s worth it—even if it does feel like a warmed over rehash of the first film. It doesn’t need to exist, and in truth it’s a trifle forgettable, but it’s enjoyable enough while you’re watching it.

Rule #74 Maybe don’t make Zombieland 3!

 

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