It's been 10 whole years since the original Zombieland was released, and finally we have our sequel. A lot of great comedies get the unnecessary, crappy sequels years later but I was hoping that Zombieland: Double Tap wouldn't be like the worthless sequels we usually get (ex. Hot Tub Time Machine, Horrible Bosses, or Bad Santa). I'm sorry to say that Zombieland: Double Tap isn't as satisfying and funny as the original film BUT it's still a good amount of fun for the price of a matinee ticket.
Ruben Fleischer (director of the original Zombieland and Venom) is a solid, if not remarkable, director that usually gets some solid performances from his actors but doesn't have a signature style of his own. He's done action, horror, comedy, and even a comic book film but none of them have a style that pops out besides the few instances in Zombieland where they use text in fun ways. The same goes for Zombieland 2 where he does well with directing his actors and even some of the set pieces but it feels like anyone could've directed this film. You could say that about a lot of directors but after 10 years and big-budget action films and comedies, you'd expect his style of directing would be a little less workmanlike.
The original director and writers return to helm the sequel that was stuck in development hell for years and all that time and we get a simple road trip style adventure where everything you expect to happen happens with dated stereotypes, Elvis jokes, and minimal character development. While it's not an overly inventive story, it does have its merits. Mainly because of the likable characters and various fun set-pieces throughout its brief 90 minute run time. One involving doppelgangers ends up being surprisingly inspired, perfectly lengthed, and really funny. That being said, I wish we got a bit more from the story. I'm not asking for a deep character study or anything but I would've liked a more inventive story to match its unique style.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
A decade has passed and a lot has happened for actors Harrelson, Eisenberg, Breslin, and Stone (all of which have garnered Oscar nominations and wins since the original film) so it's a pleasure to see each one of them back in these very memorable roles and having a blast playing off of one another. With the addition of the original cast members, we're introduced to a sizable cast of supporting characters. I was, at first, against the idea of increasing the cast of characters because the original has a clear vision and focus on it's four main characters and that's all. I feared that the supporting cast would get in the way, but I'm happy to say they were great additions.
Joining the cast we have Luke Wilson, Zoey Deutch, Rosario Dawson, Thomas Middleditch, and Avan Jogia, and not a single one felt unnecessary. I liked each of their characters with the standouts being Zoey Deutch as the ditzy blonde Madison who plays that role so well that I should dislike her as a character but ended up loving her, and Thomas Middleditch who does the best Jesse Eisenberg impression I've ever seen. This cast is the reason why this movie ends up being so much fun in parts.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The film has good use of some classic songs including Elvis, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, and Lynyrd Skynyrd to name a few that fit well with the characters (mainly Woody Harrelson's) and the set pieces they were used in. The score itself is fine, while nothing memorable, but it doesn't stick out as distracting like many other scores in lesser comedy films do.
When it comes to the zombie makeup and practical gore effects, the movie doesn't shy away from being grotesque. It might be more of a comedy than a horror movie, but the zombies are treated right. But while the practical effects are solid, the CGI effects are pretty terrible. Action scenes feel disjointed at times because of the overuse of CGI when there was no need to use it. One involving defending a bus from a horde of zombies had some of the more laughable effects including bad blood plug-in effects and cartoony zombies jumping and falling. The climax is especially bad because it's filled with nothing but CGI zombies and they try to get around the bad effects by making it night time during this scene, but unfortunately it's not enough to hide the awful work done.
While not as surprising and entertaining as the first movie, Zombieland: Double Tap provides enough solid humor and gory zombie kills to justify its existence. It's just a shame that fans have waited 10 years for such an okay movie. Well… at least we finally got it and it didn't completely suck. I'm looking at you Bad Santa 2.