Zombieland: Double Tap Oct 19, 2019 17:06:03 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Oct 19, 2019 17:06:03 GMT -5
Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin return for Zombieland: Double Tap.
Zombieland: Double Tap opens with Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) welcoming us back to "the Z," as it's become known, apparently. Columbus is one of those self-aware movie characters. He understands that we, the American public, were inundated with zombies in mainstream horror when the first Zombieland roared into theaters ten years ago, and that we've had plenty of options to choose from since then. Thankfully, Columbus' friendly introduction and subsequent narration isn't a front. He and his loyal three genuinely had something memorable for us the second time around.
If you're anything like me, you were skeptical as hell when a Zombieland sequel arrived ten years late after a lengthy stint in development hell. This is the kind of film that I'd argue should've been made within three years of the original or not at all. It's the sequel that ostensibly begs to be a dated rehash of jokes from a bygone period in the late aughts. But with the return of the cast and Ruben Fleischer again in the director's seat, Double Tap rekindles the chemistry and frequent joy of its predecessor.
Ten years has done a lot for our cast of characters, who still retain the names of the towns to which they were once en route. The bookish Columbus has come of age in a sense, now dating the moody but admirably independent Wichita (Emma Stone), who is still protective of her younger sister Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), once more, clings to his firearms and serves as the patriarch of this eclectic family. The four reside in the White House, but their union is on the verge of becoming smaller as Little Rock is growing disillusioned by being around people to whom she can't relate and desires to go out and find fellow teenagers.
When Columbus proposes to Wichita, it seems like the perfect excuse for her to run off with Little Rock, leaving the two guys by themselves. Little Rock eventually shacks up with a pacifist musician (Avan Jogia, Nickelodeon's Victorious), with the two seeking refuge in a hippie commune, and Columbus meets Madison (Zoey Deutch), a ditzy young woman who has boarded herself up in a mall freezer, which causes friction when Wichita decides to come back to the two boys and find Little Rock. With all this swirling, the only thing the group can rely on is Columbus' laundry list of rules for survival, which include everything from cardio to avoiding bathrooms.
Zombieland: Double Tap amounts to a road trip movie, but its familiar tropes are made acceptable because of the great company on-board. All of these characters, even newcomer Madison, are articulated well enough that they feel like individuals. Wichita can't quite explain what made her run from the possibility of tying down to Columbus for the rest of her life (not that she has many other options) and Tallahassee begins to question whether or not he wants to be a part of this makeshift family or return to his lone wolf ways. Writers Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick (both men behind Deadpool), and Dave Callaham have all had ample time to think about where they want to take these characters, and perhaps that ten year gap loans to a bit of the maturation we see in all four of them.
When it comes to the zombies, there's fun to be had in Columbus describing the different types, as well as the finale, which is an ultra-satisfying, almost entirely gun-free escapade that acts as a bit of a screenwriting challenge. It's one thing if Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock all mow down zombies with automatic weapons and a questionable amount of ammo, but due to circumstances I will dare not spoil, that's out of the question, resulting in something more creative coming to fruition. Sprinkle in good supporting performances by the likes of Rosario Dawson, who is always a pleasure to see on-screen, the sometimes elusive Luke Wilson, and the chummy Thomas Middleditch, and this 88 minute romp goes beyond retread in favor of a briskly paced, satisfying spectacle.
Zombieland: Double Tap was a long-in-the-works, perpetually delayed sequel to a product of its time. At one point, there was going to be an Amazon TV series with no returning castmembers that didn't end up materializing (probably for the better). Think back to the early part of this decade, where zombies were everywhere: The Walking Dead, Warm Bodies, and Dead Snow to name a few popular pieces of media. Ruben Fleischer's mainstream hit felt like a product of its time, but with time on its side, a comfortable quartet primed to be back fighting the undead, and an enviable zeal that produces a number of laughs, Double Tap affirms this concept was worth the double-dip.
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson, and Thomas Middleditch. Directed by: Ruben Fleischer.