Release Date: October 5, 2019
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone
Synopsis: Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock remain in search of a home and some sense of domestic normalcy in a zombie-run world. Little Rock sets to find her own destiny while leaving behind her tribe, which propels our remaining heroes to embark on a quest to find their Little Rock and bring her back into the fold.
Rating: 1.5/4 Stars
[The following is a spoiler-free guest review written by my brother and fellow movie buff, Ashton Pacholski]
As Columbus (portrayed by the loveably, neurotic Jesse Eisenberg) reminds us again, there are rules to surviving a zombie apocalypse. Much like there are rules to withstanding hordes of an undead army, which this time around has some interesting developments, there are also some rules to sequels. And as for Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), directed by Rueben Fleischer, this film manages to break one too many.
Ten years have passed and zombies still plague the world. For our familiar quartet of zombie-slaying heroes, their search for an idealistic home is still paramount. And watching this film, it was nostalgic to see these characters come back to the silver screen. From hearing Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) humorously spar with his surroundings to seeing the seminal “Zombie Kill of The Week” (which has now been moved to a yearly celebration), I remembered what I loved so much about the first film. And despite my adoration for the original, I found this return filled with too many call-backs to the former, narratively and stylistically, that it didn’t quite necessitate a return to the land of the dead at all.
Double Tap does a great job of keeping the source material consistent with each original character fulfilling their archetype (i.e. Tallahassee, the politically incorrect cowboy, and Wichita, portrayed by Emma Stone, being the femme fatale), but the film never takes an interesting detour to challenge them or give their personalities new shades of complexity. And funny enough, one could see this new entry into the necropolis as a celebration of the first, but its incessant reliance on familiar comedic beats makes the party feel more derivative than fresh.
Now, there are new ideas being implemented in Double Tap, but it’s not hard for viewers to see how cheap these additions are in the mix of an already hollow narrative. These additions include newly-mutated zombies that feel useless other than providing the plot convenience, and secondary characters are so poorly-written that their inclusion is ultimately insulting and futile (e.g. an annoyingly vapid stereotype of the blonde, valley girl comes to mind). However, few surprises are to be had including a pretty humorous scene involving doppelgängers that painted a smile on my face. Although I found some pockets of fun watching this film, my smile sadly didn’t last long. I’m not so sure how long the road for this franchise is either. Hell, here’s a new rule for Columbus: two shots could be considered overkill. Sometimes one is enough.
Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) is rated R for bloody violence, language throughout, some drug and sexual content