Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)
Directed by Ruben Fleischer
Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone & Abigail Breslin
It’s risky to release a sequel ten years later. Most don’t do the original justice. Dumb & Dumber To (2014), Clerks II (2006) and Escape from LA (1981) are just some examples of not leaving well enough alone. Could a film built on cultural commentary from ’09 still be enjoyable and funny? Or did Zombieland: Double Tap fall into the same sort of sequel-trap?
The cast is back and most look and act the same. Abigail Breslin is the obvious exception, being only 13 when the original was filmed. She now has a chance to act as an adult beside her costars. She kills it with wry wit as the foil to her surrogate father figure, Tallahassee, played by Woody Harrelson. Both Emma Stone and Jesse Eisenberg are now academy award nominated actors. But it doesn’t go to their heads. They play on again off again love interests with the same glee they did a decade ago.
The film comments on both, the Zombie Genre bubble (which has since popped), and current political and social movements. Never heavy handed but still on the nose, the self-referential nature of the script makes any fan of the first Zombieland feel right at home without relying on picking up exactly where our characters left off, like Incredibles 2 (2018) did. New additions to the cast raise the comedy and action bar, primarily with Rosario Dawson and to a lesser extent Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch.
The violence in the land of zombies is less shocking now, focused instead on new and interesting ways to murder the undead. Over the last 10 years, with numerous films and the popular Walking Dead television series, all sorts of clever kill techniques are fair game. Double Tap has fun with the rules and makes them feel unique and fresh.
Filmed like a super slick action film with great stunt sequences, it’s amazing that comedy rises to the top in this film, but it does. You can thank writer Rhett Reese for this (the man behind the mega hits Deadpool 1 and Deadpool 2 as well as the original Zombieland).
If the first Zombieland was a solid B+ this new incarnation out 10 years later is just behind it with a B.