(Zombieland: Double Tap – Columbia Pictures)
Rarely does a sequel so accurately leave me with the same feeling as its predecessor as I’m walking out of the theater. In Zombieland: Double Tap, Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Littlerock are back, albeit a little older, and ready to take on the undead hordes that have laid waste to the contiguous United States of America. In similar fashion to the Terminator franchise that it so often references, this second romp through the apocalypse treads familiar ground while deviating only slightly from the core elements that made the original so popular. Instead of going on a road trip to Hollywood, our survivors decided to turn the White House into a zombie-fortress and visit Graceland to fawn over Elvis memorabilia. The pattern is perfectly apparent as the opening credits roll, once again matching slow-motion zombie battles with Metallica except with slightly crappier CGI and editing.
What Zombieland: Double Tap does well is deliver on a simple, comedic zombie road trip movie. Butchering the undead is as entertaining as ever and the survivors are just as charming as they were nearly a decade ago, but if you were expecting an evolution on the formula, Double Tap offers more of the same. In that way, the sequel actually improves on the foundation that the original Zombieland set. While the first film abandoned the zombie survival rules gimmick about halfway through its runtime, Double Tap doubles down on the idea by keeping it going throughout the film, even going so far as to introduce a second character that also obsesses about a set of commandments for staying alive.
The new characters this time around are all welcome additions, especially given how homogenous the original cast was, but like everything else in this series, they aren’t left with much to do or say that’s of much consequence. If The Big Lewbowski was a movie about nothing, Zombieland and its sequel really want to be about something but, either due to budget restraints or severely limited scope, fail to create characters or plot arcs worth caring about. Double Tap makes up for this somewhat by keeping me laughing throughout, regardless of whether I’m laughing with the movie or at it.
Verdict: Definitely worth seeing if you enjoyed the first, but otherwise forgettable.