Most sequels often feel out of place, almost like they don’t belong. While “Zombieland: Double Tap” is a fun time at the cinema, it sadly falls under that category of missing the mark. Especially since this sequel came out 10 years after 2009’s “Zombieland.”
The gang is back together! Four survivors Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin who met and joined forces in their previous outing in “Zombieland” leave their safe new home of the White House to travel to Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. Now, these zombie slayers must rely on their abilities and weapons to defeat a threat like none they’ve faced before.
While the film was released in 2019, it was supposed to start filming shortly after the release of the first movie in 2009. A theme of the movie is leaving the nest. Rhett Reese, one of the Zombieland writers said, new additions to the writing team “did a wonderful job updating the story, bringing it to a more of an empty nest story about a young woman who used to be a girl, and used to love to look up to her father figure, but now really wants to get out in the world.”
Made their path
The first 30 minutes of the movie benefits from not having a specific path to follow. With the lack of a focal point, the writers can focus on jokes and tossing in new characters randomly. Don’t be confused while the film is very much a comedy, there’s plenty of gory visuals sure to make you look away from the screen every once in a while.
The lack of focus becomes apparent around halfway through the movie. While jokes are constantly being thrown out I’m confident in saying that most of them don’t stick. I chuckled a few times and genuinely thought some scenes were funny, but nothing made me feel like I had to control my laughter.
Tallahassee (Harrelson), Columbus (Eisenberg) and Wichita (Stone) have one of the greatest on-screen relationships I’ve seen in a long time going to the cinema. They allowed me to dive into their world. They made me feel like their relationships were real and that’s not an easy task. Outside of those three, I think the acting takes a little bit of a hit. No one else steals the show and its kind of disappointing.
While Little Rock’s (Breslin) performance didn’t seem off, the writing for her was just bad. I felt like her motivation didn’t make much sense. Watching her story unfold reminded me of films that simply go by the book. For example, before the climax, the main characters have a falling out or a character thought to be dead comes back and saves everyone. It was just so predictable that I dreaded even having her on screen. She got much less screen time than the other three main characters which to me was a good idea.
While the wait was long we finally did receive the sequel to the cult classic known as “Zombieland.” The film doesn’t feel too out of place. It feels like we never left besides for a few differences. When Little Rock decided she wanted to leave her friends and family it gave the writers much freedom. However, maybe it was too much freedom.
The film lacks direction and if the jokes were to fall more often I don’t think that audiences would care. Many times in the movie I felt like they were just stalling to get to that 109 minutes run time. However, the chemistry between our protagonists will keep spectators entertained just because of how well they work together.
Sadly that doesn’t save the film from wasting a few resources. The new characters such as Madison (Zoey Deutch) and Berkeley (Avan Jogia) weren’t fleshed out in the slightest. They both were one-note characters, but it still feels like neither of them reached their true potential.
With a more refined focus and fewer jokes that tattered on the edge of annoyance, I think that this sequel could’ve blown the original out of the water. It’s still definitely worth watching, especially if you enjoyed the first.
Verdict 7.5 out of 10 Stars
Zombieland: Double Tap (Rated R) is playing at a theater near you.