Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland: Double Tap is a long overdue sequel that makes for a worthwhile time in theatres. Unfortunately, the film does not surpass the perfectly executed satire and energy of its 2009 predecessor. This latest installment suffers from several issues, even if it’s a welcome treat for fans of the zombie genre.
Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin, and Emma Stone provide an abundance of screwball fun in reprising their roles as Columbus, Tallahassee, Little Rock, and Wichita. Part road trip movie, part horror-comedy, the sequel follows this rag-tag group of survivors as they search for a place to call home, all the while fighting to stay safe from smarter and tougher zombies. The lead stars, even after ten years since the first film, still have natural chemistry on screen, delivering witty performances through the story’s antics.
While Eisenberg, Harrelson, and Stone deliver amusing offbeat comedy, Breslin stands out the most in exploring Little Rock’s personal struggles with growing up. She lends a new dimension to her role compared to her fellow stars, who portray their characters with the same quirks from the first entry. Still, the script doesn’t give its leads more nuanced approaches to developing tension. The problems the characters have with each other are abruptly resolved with predictable choices that hinder the story’s stakes before the climax. Otherwise, Eisenberg, Harrelson, Breslin, and Stone confidently carry this film with light-hearted flair.
However, the pacing starts to drag during dialogue scenes because of jokes that fall flat. Although the pacing picks up when the thrilling action sequences begin, especially during the wonderfully bonkers finale, the script’s uneven flow creates dry execution for most of its zombie satire, unlike the first film. The bland dialogue scenes edited with the movie’s action set pieces create an inconsistent tone that further harms pacing.
As for the new characters, they become annoying gags that impede suspense-building for the story’s horror elements. The film could easily have been better without them due to their limited screen time and weak chemistry with the main cast. Moreover, the movie reduces its highly evolved zombies to just simple afterthoughts to introduce these two-dimensional characters. Rosario Dawson, as Tallahassee’s love interest Nevada, is the only exception, sporting a tough-as-nails attitude during her own action scenes. Aside from Dawson, the film throws in somewhat touching themes about belonging, family, and the importance of home. And yet, the story explicitly states these same themes through Columbus’s voiceovers rather than allowing viewers to interpret those ideas for themselves.
Overall, Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland: Double Tap could have been better and does not surpass the first instalment due to its many flaws. The movie is nonetheless a watchable horror-comedy through the return of Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin, and Emma Stone in the lead roles. In the end, this film is disappointing, but it is an entertaining way to spend an evening if you just want to sit back and enjoy its characters’ take on the zombie apocalypse.