REVIEW: A return to ‘Zombieland’ is fun, but also forgettable

It took a decade but audiences have finally been invited back to Zombieland. Unfortunately, it’s lost some luster.

The movie picks up with the protagonists of the 2009 horror comedy, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). The four have been surviving across the United States since joining together as a makeshift family in California.

At the beginning of the movie, the four have made it to Washington D.C. and decide to take up residency in the still intact White House. The presidential mansion is a great place to live, but like all families, there can be growing pains and stress. Eventually, it causes Little Rock to go out on her own. The remaining trio decide to go after Little Rock to ensure her safety and encounter some new faces along the way.

For its runtime, “Zombieland: Double Tap” comes across as a movie in search of a reason to exist. Consistently there’s an atmosphere that the sequel came out too late, with a 10 year break, and didn’t have all that much to add.

The movie has a somewhat meandering story. Like the 2009 picture, “Double Tap” is in a way a road movie. However, this time around, the travel from point A to B is less about charming character development and connection building. Instead, it’s more time dedicated to moments of humor or action.

As a result there’s a lack of freshness in the whole ordeal. It’s noticeable in the writing especially in moments of dialogue which can be either too self aware or too obvious at times.

zombieland2 blog
Courtesy Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures.

With all of that said, the “Zombieland” sequel can still be well worth the watch. There are times when the humor misses the target, but the movie also has plenty of comedy hitting the bulls-eye. More than a few sequences get full on laughs.

It’s also just fun getting to hang out with these characters again after a 10-year hiatus. The characters are endearing like last time and getting to listen to their banter is a treat.

While there’s not much technically new here, it’s an enjoyable hour and a half revisit.
Of course it’s thanks to the team portraying the four. Like the original Harrelson steals a lot of the scenes he’s in, portraying the always fun Tallahassee.

Stone is also solid here. While she’s been going in a clear dramatic direction lately, there’s no doubt she’s always had comedic talent and it’s on display in “Double Tap.”

Eisenberg feels somewhat trapped by his character, though. The Columbus character was written during this time in Hollywood where other similar “nerdy” characters were kind of common, with other notable examples in 2007’s “Superbad” and 2010’s “Kick-Ass.” Eisenberg is a fine actor and he has his moments here but the character does feel dated.

Getting the least screen time is Breslin, who is onscreen rather rarely. She’s fine in her moments on screen, but her role is so limited.

Taking her place are two characters, Madison (Zoey Deutch) and Nevada (Rosario Dawson). The characters are somewhat cliched, especially Madison, but they do add entertainment value.

That’s really what “Double Tap” boils down to. The first movie was quite rich while “Zombieland 2” is more hollow, yet the sequel has enough laughs and action to hold one’s interest for a consumable hour and 40 minutes. 3.0 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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