REVIEW: Zombieland: Double Tap (Spoiler Free)

That’s so 2009.

Ten years on from their first encounter, the makeshift family of apocalypse survivors, Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock attempt to keep their tightknit group together whilst hordes of zombies continue to tear into their lives.

I was never the biggest Zombieland fan back in the day. I liked the movie but, I guess, I never really loved it. The meta appeal it had, I did enjoy, and, at his best, Woody Harrelson never failed to impress, but honestly Zombieland was always a movie I was satisfied with seeing once and never again. Having now seen Zombieland: Double Tap, I have to say… it really feels like I have seen the first film twice now.

zombieland_double_tap-publicity_still_2-h_2019
(Jessica Miglio 2019)

So, there is certainly an audience for Double Tap. If you enjoyed the original film, by-gosh you’ll enjoy this one. However, I fail to see the appeal in a film that really does not develop on from the original or even attempt to feel evolved to an extent. Ten years is a long time, when you think about it – it’s a damn decade! And so much has happened since 2009, not just in the world or in film but to the cast and crew that fills Double Tap. Jesse Eisenberg has done projects like The Social Network and Emma Stone has even won an Academy Award. Rueben Fleischer, the director, has made (*sigh*) Venom, but at least from an experience like that you would want to grow and develop as an artist… surely? Yet, Double Tap felt stunted in the past. A slave to the original. A project from late 2009 that doesn’t even realise it’s 10 years later.

And sure, there can be merit to reasons for why the film made no real effort to express changes in style, relationships, worldbuilding, tones and such, but I do not think these assumed reasons are strong enough. I have heard theories from people explaining that all aspects of the movie have not changed from the 2009 original because, in the world of Zombieland, society is still stuck in 2009. Considering the film is set in a post-apocalyptic world, there has been no societal change in trends and styles, furtherly assuring that the people of this world are still carrying on their personas of 2009 – what with their lame catchphrases and attempts at very late 2000s comedy. And although that is cool and a nice touch to really world-build, I do not think any of that is much of an excuse for why the characters and the story really felt dull and unoriginal.

The appeal of these characters are that they are a ragtag band of misfits who have somehow become a believable, functioning family. Although, they share nothing in common with makeshift cinematic families like the Guardians of the Galaxy… or even La Familia from Fast & Furious, to that matter. If it was not for the fact that Abigail Breslin specifically looked much older, this film could have easily been set a month after the events of the first film. After a decade, these characters should have been functioning way differently – either like a real family or like a bunch of abandoned wannabes who cannot stand each other. Instead, they all existed in a bubble of permeance; never really moving on from their original meeting in the first film. Everything felt so stilted, like the writers originally had written this sequel back in 2009 but took 10 years to develop it. There was no growth from the original and, hence, what viewers were left with was almost a carbon copy, in styles and themes, of the original flick.

However, when considering the original movie, there were obvious reasons why it worked and eventually earned itself a sequel – namely, the charisma of its ensemble cast. Quite possibly, the most likeable element of the original, the cast of Zombieland were like a match made in heaven of four highly talented actors… but I could not particularly same about them in Double Tap. Although I still rather enjoyed Harrelson, Eisenberg’s goofy rendition felt tiresome and one note. Stone acted like she was only half interested and Breslin wasn’t even really in the movie enough to judge.

Quite possibly, the most interesting characters in the film were the newcomers played by Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch and Rosario Dawson. All three actors turned out some extremely likeable, jovial performances. Although, on the downside, their roles were rather limited and definitely did not get enough screen time to be totally enjoyed. Instead, the film gave more time to possibly its most annoying character played by Zoey Deutch who’s airy-fairy performance was really enough to grind my gears… and not in a good way.

Now, I do not necessarily think this film was terrible. There were some good jokes and, truthfully, the actors still managed to express their brilliant chemistry from scene to scene. I enjoyed a lot of the action set pieces for which were almost all surprisingly and equally well directed and choregraphed with one specific one shot action scene towards the middle of the film really exciting me. To put it plainly, I do not think there was anything horribly wrong with Double Tap to ward off viewings. If you liked the first I guarantee you will like this one; it was just the fact, for me, it was all same old, same old.

Actually, you know what – Double Tap is worth the price of emission purely for the mid credits scene! I will not spoil what this mid credits scene entails, but my gosh was it the best part of the film, by far. And yeah, it may be a negative to say the credits scene is the best part of a two hour Hollywood blockbuster… but trust me guys, this credits scene was ace. Bloody ace.

And here I was expecting there to be carnage… oh wait, that was the other Harrelson/ Fleischer joint…

Zombieland: Double Tap, sadly, belongs in the… KINGDOM OF THE CRIMINALLY DULL…

 

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