Here’s our review of ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’, the sequel to the original ‘Zombieland’ from 2009, which opens in theaters nationwide on Friday…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
When ‘Zombieland’ was released in 2009, it certainly wasn’t the first horror-comedy and it wasn’t even the original zombie comedy — ‘Shaun of the Dead’ had them beat by five years.
That said, the original ‘Zombieland’ checked all the boxes for a wholly original and hilarious take on the zombie genre with a perfect cast and a compelling enough story to make it all seem (almost) believable. The film largely revolved around four characters along with a special guest appearance by Bill Murray in one of the film’s most memorable scenes and it felt like that’s all the movie needed when it was all said and done.
‘Zombieland’ was a truly satisfying movie going experience from start to finish because the movie was action packed, hilarious and even managed to stick in a few moments that tugged at the heart strings.
And despite a solid cast, ‘Zombieland’ wasn’t expected to be a box office blockbuster when it first arrived but through word of mouth and solid reviews, the film became a cult classic beloved by fans across the globe.
Now 10 years later, ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ has arrived, which reunites those same four characters but much like every sequel in horror history, this one has to be bigger, bloodier and pack in even more impressive kills along the way.
When you toss in the comedy element, ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ attempts to recapture the same spirit of the original film and while a few jokes land, the movie largely fails to trigger any real laughs throughout the one hour and 40 minute run time.
The two ‘human’ stories at the center of this movie also fail to capture any of the spirit that revolved around gruff zombie killer Tallahassee secretly mourning the loss of his child and the budding romance between Columbus and Wichita, which paid off huge in the end with a piece of hair being brushed back behind an ear and a simple kiss before the credits rolled.
The “plot” — and I use that term loosely when applied to this film — in “Zombieland: Double Tap” is so utterly pointless that you actually hope a few of the people get infected just so something worthwhile will actually happen in this movie.
There’s a lot to dig into with this film so with that said, let’s get to our full review of ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’….
Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock have been living as a pseudo family for the past 10 years after finding each other in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. After failing to find a home at Pacific Playland out west, the group travels back east before setting up shop in the grandest home of all — the White House.
The four of them start playing house together with Tallahassee as the patriarch of the family while Little Rock is trying to make everyone realize that she’s not a child anymore. Columbus and Wichita have settled into a rhythm as a couple, which is made to look like they seem rather bored with each other after all this time.
When Wichita and Little Rock finally get spooked by all this togetherness, they decide to hit the road again and leave Tallahassee and Columbus behind
Unfortunately along the way, Little Rock finally finds some romance of her own when she meets a guy named Berkeley — a hipster doofus who refuses to use guns and only carries around a guitar that he plays while ripping off famous songs from the past while passing them off as his own. Little Rock eventually leaves with him, ditching her sister and that forces Wichita to return to the nation’s capital in search of help to track down her sibling before she gets into serious trouble.
ACTING, DIRECTING AND SCRIPT
First off, let’s not bury the actors in this movie because Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin do as good as they can given the material they’ve been handed in this Swiss cheese like script that has so many holes, there’s barely any substance here.
Harrelson is only required to hit one note over and over again but he knows this character well enough to pull it off. He is required to engage in a weird Elvis Presley obsession that has apparently replaced his love of Twinkies in this movie, which is just boring and lazy storytelling on every possible level.
Also side note — it’s 2019, does anyone under 60 really obsess about Elvis anymore?
At some points you almost feel bad for Stone and Eisenberg — two truly great actors of this generation — who do their best with a truly clunky script and while it appears they’re having fun, that might just be the best acting they’re doing in this garbage fire.
That brings us to the script — Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who also wrote ‘Deadpool’ and ‘Deadpool 2’ — are great writers but they seem to have a real problem when it comes to penning sequels.
For all the ways that the original “Deadpool” was arguably the best film of 2016, the sequel, while not terrible, failed to recapture the same spirit of the first movie. It’s almost an identical problem with “Zombieland: Double Tap” except they’ve somehow managed to come up with an even worse concept for this sequel.
The dialogue is predictable and not very funny. Add in a pile of new characters that almost feel like they’re being tossed in just to extend this movie past 90 minutes and you start to realize how paper thin this script really is.
The one moment with the new characters that actually pays off — when Tallahassee and Columbus meet their identical counterparts played by Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch (a scene that’s in the trailer) — even that manages to be ruined by the same jokes being rehashed multiple times during an interaction that only goes on for a few minutes.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE MOVIE?
Is everything an option?
Listen, ‘Zombieland’ remains one of my favorite films of all time so there’s no doubt I sat down in the theater hoping to love “Zombieland: Double Tap” but the sequel failed to even come close to living up to the original.
And the reality is “Zombieland: Double Tap” was never going to be as good as the first one — most people will acknowledge that long before purchasing tickets to this movie — but by the time this one is over, it almost feels like the sequel casts a bad shadow over the original and you want to forget it ever happened.
At the heart of it all, “Zombieland: Double Tap” is just a bad script with no real direction where this movie is trying to go much less what it’s trying to say.
“Zombieland: Double Tap” is a forgettable and pointless sequel. Sure, there are some fun zombie kills and a few funny exchanges — most of which can be seen in the trailers — but overall this movie fails to capture your attention, which is the ultimate fail in a film designed to be a popcorn munching night out at the movies.
“Zombieland: Double Tap” gets one out of five on the Skolnick Scale