Zombieland: Double Tap (aka Zombieland 2) review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso
The return to Zombieland finds little to surprise. Like The Walking Dead lumbering through a decade of seasons, more or less pointed out in this film no less, this film finds busy work for our characters rather than a more meaningful next step in their adventure. The entire script is staged for more of the quirks of romance that comes off more as sitcom plots dissected and mashed into a feature film with zombies.
Consider how Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is trying to take his relationship with Wichita (Emma Stone) to the next level. They’ve been together for TEN YEARS are just now contemplating marriage. Why now? Well, they’re not getting any younger in the zombie apocalypse. Columbus probably thinks it's safe as well. After all, if there are no lawyers, how could they get divorced? The dating pool is also very small.
But then cartoony aspects take over when Columbus and Wichita take a break, leading to Columbus finding a rebound of a dumb blonde. Madison (Zoey Deutch) is a walking dumb blonde joke, dumbed down in a manner more suited for a sitcom than wickedly cynical horror-comedy. She sticks out like a sore thumb for being a one-joke character. But she’s not alone though. There’s also Berkley, the guitar-playing hippie who only believes in peace and is against violence, somehow surviving without using a gun. He’s attractive to the thrill-seeking Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and seen as an annoying loser to the cocky Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson). Tallahassee and Columbus will also run into mirror versions of themselves because that doesn’t at all reek of a show desperate for gimmick stories. At least we’re introduced to Rosario Dawson as a love interest for Tallahassee who isn’t a stereotype. She’s not all that interesting but at least she’s not a cartoon character.
Another troubling aspect: Zombieland never goes that extra mile for a payoff. For example, we hear about numerous zombie designations that Columbus explains to us in the intro. We learn that the dope zombies who present no threats are referred to as Homers. We see plenty a few Homers on their adventure but then what of the Ninjas, zombies who lie in wait and kill quickly before you even know they’re there? We’re introduced to them but then never see them again. It becomes clear why. A Ninja zombie seems more apparent in a darker horror picture and this is clearly not that movie. Then why introduce it? We also see a towering skyscraper and if you thought that thing would be on fire or crawling with zombies by the climax, you’d be wrong. What a tragic waste of chaos for a film franchise that prides itself on violence and chaos.
Zombieland: Double Tap seriously struggles for laughs and I question why. The chemistry between the four main characters is still present and strong enough to carry the picture alone. Presenting all these side characters is a gimmick and they get old fast. They come off like pointless distractions in a film with a lot of dead weight. All that’s left is the mere spectacle of Harrelson throwing on a zombie costume and Dawson driving a monster truck over zombies. But aside from some new Zombie Kill of the Week mentions, there’s little else to warrant another outing into Zombieland.