Wait until you can stream it…
For better or worse, if you loved the original Zombieland, then you will love its sequel. It does not move the story along, rehashing elements of the original, and the action sequences are still the least exciting parts of the film. However, it is equally as funny and the characters are as likeable as ever.
Before the film even starts, the film has you laughing out loud. The Columbia logo is invaded by zombies, and Columbia herself turns feisty in her self-defence. It is a brilliant, surprising and funny way to open the film. And the laughs keep on coming. There are so many funny moments to choose from: the introduction of the “Homer” zombie, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) finding out Little Rock is not only dating a “MUSICIAN”, but a pacifist too, and the introduction of the doppelganger group, to name a few. (Although, the doppelganger group joke was done much better in Shaun of the Dead, it is still amusing here). If you found the first one funny, then you will laugh at this one too.
The subtleness of many of the jokes is also a great. Like the first one, many of the jokes will pass you by if you are not paying enough attention. We have a scene where they quickly sign a pardoning order for Wesley Snipes, a quick drive past a broken sign saying “Jesus will save you”, and a Garfield poster in the mall pays off later in a pleasant post-credits scene. This film knows that it is at its strongest when the action is limited and the comedy is allowed free reign. None of the action sequences are particularly exciting; although, it is refreshing that the film avoids the typical resolution, for film’s of this genre, of a shootout. Fortunately, the film focuses on the comedy, and the subtle gags. Zombieland: Double Tap will benefit from multiple re-watches as you unpack many of the hidden gags.
In fact, Rhett Rese, Paul Wernick and David Callahan’s script is tight throughout. There are references used with impeccable timing for maximum laughs: “time to teach Lenny about the rabbits”, followed by the cock of a gun, is a personal favourite. The double entendres feel original and fresh in comparison to most comedies that will lazily use references to size for a cheap gag: the “driveway” one and the “belonged to the first lady” lines spring to mind. The fact the hippie sanctuary is called Babylon does not merely refer to the size of the tower, but it is also highly suggestive of their arrogance over their pacifistic lifestyle. The script is well-written and surprisingly thoughtful.
And, it is magnificently brought to life by the cast of characters. Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone are as delightful in this sequel as they were in the original. The family dynamic, and the loveable characters, does not grow or develop enough to really justify the existence of this sequel. The film’s opening reverses the ending of the first one slightly in order to rehash the “will they won’t they” romantic subplot between Columbus and Wichita, in fact. Nevertheless, the characters are a joy to spend an hour and a half with. It is a fan service sequel with nothing to offer in terms of developing the story and the characters; even so, these characters are so human and likeable that you can forgive this.
Whether you enjoy this film is dependent on your answer to this question: did you enjoy the first one? If you did, very little has changed in terms of story, and there has been no improvement in the action. However, if you did, then you have got an hour and a half of dark comedy gold to enjoy.