I guess the best way to sum up “Zombieland: Double Tap” is that you will probably get what you expect from it. If you have seen the original “Zombieland,” you will likely have just about the same response to this sequel as you had to its predecessor. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing from a creative standpoint, but that’s my evaluation of it. I moderately enjoyed the original and was adequately entertained by the sequel. It got some genuine laughs out of me, and seeing it in theaters probably helped with that.
However, as I’ve thought about it in passing over the last few days, I have started to see some issues with it. Not plot holes or anything that really alters my impression of it, but just areas where it could improve. I found the story to be somewhat predictable, although that didn’t necessarily hinder the movie. At the end of the day, it works.
One thing I can definitely say in praise of it is that it embraces its identity as a sequel in the right ways. The end of the first “Zombieland” didn’t give the impression that the story would continue, so its sequel didn’t really have anything to deliver on. There is a ten-year gap between the two movies, which is addressed naturally. I think where it excels is in how it deals with the iconic aspects of the original. Columbus’ (Jesse Eisenberg) rules and omniscient knowledge of all zombie fighting activities around the country makes a return in just the right way with a few welcome twists and developments. Tallahassee’s (Woody Harrelson) intense “‘Murica” personality is played up a lot. Where the movie really has fun is with the increasingly inventive ways that humans fight the zombies and deal with the post-apocalyptic state of the country.
I will warn that it is definitely harder to enjoy this sequel if you haven’t seen the original. I guess that’s true of all sequels, but I think it’s especially noticable for “Double Tap.” You won’t exactly be lost, but there will be a lot that will be harder to appreciate.
If an all-star cast is a draw for you, I can safely say that this movie delivers. Nobody has a career-defining performance by any means, but they all play their roles well and are very entertaining to watch. To be fair, the characters aren’t really developed much, so the actors are all essentially hitting the same note the whole time. On the upside, they are well cast, so everyone’s performance and chemistry is moderately entertaining.
I’m not going to recommend that you rush out to see this. A movie like “Joker” might be a more fulfilling experience for you. But if “Joker” looks a little too deep or emotionally intense for you, this is a good alternative. Not to throw shade at any of this week’s releases, but it looks like it’s going to be a pretty underwhelming weekend, so I’d recommend “Zombieland: Double Tap” over anything else opening on Friday. Despite the zombie element, it is not even remotely in the horror genre. Unless you’re averse to somewhat gory action, this should be worth your money in terms of entertainment. Just don’t go in with huge expectations, and you should be satisfied.