Zombieland: Double Tap -B-
Rated R, 99 minutes
"Zombieland: Double Tap" is a fun but unnecessary sequel to the 2009 zombie apocalypse comedy hit "Zombieland." Peppered with plenty of gory moments, it will certainly please those rabid fans of the original film as well as those who can't seem to get enough of zombies.
Human survivors Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Oscar-winner Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) have become experts in identifying and disposing of various zombies. Visiting the abandoned White House, Columbus proposes to Wichita using the Hope Diamond, while Tallahassee rebuffs Little Rock's hopes of meeting a boy and starting her own family. Things go awry when Wichita and Little Rock leave the foursome to branch out on their own.
Directed by "Zombieland's" Ruben Fleischer and co-written by "Deadpool's" Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Dave Callaham, the likable "Zombieland: Double Tap" lacks the originality and flavor of the bloody, hilarious first film, which likely helped inspire the hugely popular TV show "The Walking Dead," of which this feels like a comedic extension of. That may be part of the problem, as the first "Zombieland" was 10 years ago, which for a specific comedy such as this, may feel like too much time in between given how the genre has grown during that time.
While the cast works well together and certainly has fun, "Doubletap's" paper-thin story is problematic for a couple of reasons: for one it throws out too many pop-culture references, from Elvis to the T8000, the "Terminator 2" villain and used here to refer to a new style zombie that the group discovers; second, the "rules of survival" that highlighted the first film grows tiresome this time out (we get it - the first rule is to run).
That could really describe "Doubletap" itself: it's nothing really new, and does little to advance the super-popular zombie genre, as well as its sub-genre, the zombie comedy. The film's second act meanders considerably as the group wanders too much from place to place, some of which seems like easy setups for the action set pieces, particularly its energetically bloody, yet slightly overdone climax.
There are also a handful of new cast members, some of whom are memorable, particularly Zoey Deutch's dumb blonde, who has better survival skills than you might think, and Rosario Dawson's Nevada, who's as tough, maybe even tougher, than Woody's Tallahassee and can drive a monster truck better than any guy around.
It's hardly anything new, but if you like loads of blood and zombies, then you'll enjoy the comedy "Zombieland: Double Tap." Also, if you enjoy a hilarious Bill Murray cameo (and who doesn't?), then stay over for the end credits. Murray, who stole the first film, nearly does the same here, and you discover the unlikely morning show celebrity who may be responsible for the zombie apocalypse.