Zombieland: Double Tap
Ten years and sixteen days after the first Zombieland was released, we finally get to see what those crazy living humans have been up to all these years. Zombieland: Double Tap is a fun enough visit with familiar characters, though not nearly as much fun as the first film.
Picking up essentially ten years after the original movie ended, our quartet of zombie apocalypse survivors are still hanging together. Wichita and Columbus (Emma Stone and Jesse Eisenberg) are still romantically paired, while Little Rock and Tallahassee (Abigail Breslin and Woody Harrelson) have settled into a father/daughter-ish relationship. Right when we catch up with them, they’re getting ready to lay siege to the White House and take it as their own. A classic Metallica song (“Master of Puppets,” not “For Whom the Bell Tolls” from the first one) blares as they kill zombies left and right in slo-mo and make their way into the famous residence. Columbus’ dryly humorous voiceover is another continuation in the format from the previous film.
All seems great at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, until the women start to get restless. We’ve seen them flee before, so it’s no major surprise when Little Rock and Wichita take off due to teenage rebellion and fear of commitment, respectively. Columbia tries to raise his spirits with a trip to the mall, only to encounter a bubbly young blonde who goes by Madison (Zoey Deutch).
Here’s the thing about Double Tap: there are so many freaking people around. Columbus finds a woman in the mall. Little Rock finds herself a cute boyfriend (Avan Jogia) with a ponytail. He then leads her to a utopia commune. Tallahassee finds a woman (Rosario Dawson) who loves Elvis as much as he does, but she has drama with an ex-boyfriend (Luke Wilson). After the apocalypse wipes out civilization, it’s supposed to feel desolate and lonely, but the characters in this barren world seem to find new friends and enemies at every turn.
Double Tap also makes some very strange choices in its camerawork. Some excellent fight scenes are buoyed by keeping all of the action within a single take. As the camera meanders around a hotel, from room to room we wander in and out of the various battles being won and lost against the undead hordes. That kinetic energy is perfectly paired with the dynamic fighting. But when the same single-take approach is taken in a discussion between Columbus and Wichita, it reads as odd.
It’s also worth noting that, while many of the layers of humor are carried over from the first film, there are certain targets in the sights of this one that just feel mean. Madison is not the brightest young woman, and her love for pink athleisure clothes and nonstop talking make her the butt of many obvious jokes. She’s a caricature, not a character. There’s also a rift between her and Wichita that reeks of internalized misogyny and adds little to the plot. It’s just there to make jokes at Madison’s expense.
Even so, Zombieland: Double Tap is a lot of undead fun.