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Review – Zombieland: Double Tap – “Still mostly funny, exciting and cool”

After going on to direct Gangster Squad, Venom and episodes of Santa Clarita Diet (RIP, I’ll never forget you, gone too soon), director Ruben Fleischer returns to Zombieland to direct the sequel to his 2009 hit: Zombieland: Double Tap.

Writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, who wrote the first film as well as both Deadpools, are this time joined by Dave Callaham, who has Wonder Woman 1984 and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 en route.

The acting team also sees the originals return with new additions: Woody Harrelson (White Men Can’t Jump), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Emma Stone (La La Land) and Abigail Breslin (Final Girl) are joined by Rosario Dawson (Death Proof), Avan Jogia (Now Apocalypse) and Zoey Deutch (The Politician).

It’s ten years since the zombie outbreak and Columbus (Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Harrelson), Wichita (Stone), and Little Rock (Breslin) are still together. But not for long… When we rejoin our heroes they are fighting their way through a zombie horde to Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’ so that they can set up home in the White House.

It’s an awesome and exciting opening that gets you pumped straight away, and a Columbus voice-over that directly addresses both the big time gap since we last saw them and the proliferation of other zombie media assuages any fears you may (I may) have had about the much-delayed sequel.

But it’s not all fun and Oval Office japes for long. Little Rock just wants to be a teenager and hang out with other teenagers and bails, hooking up with a namaste fuckboi, Berkeley (Jogia), and heading to a guns-less drum circle commune called ‘Babylon’.

The rest of the gang set out to track her down and get her back and along the way pick up Madison (Deutch), a permanently-in-pink valley girl, and the ass-kicking Elvis-obsessed Nevada (Dawson). All the new additions work really well: being funny and cool in their own right, but also forcing the OG Zombielanders out of their comfort zones and into new dynamics.

Like the first film, Double Tap mostly works due to the chemistry and charisma of its leads, and while that is still there the comedy doesn’t always land. Sometimes this is because of repetition: the on-screen text rules gimmick gets very overused and very old quickly, and sometimes the ‘zingers’ just aren’t funny.

So the comedy side is average, but what of the action and horror? Horror-wise what there is of it is good, there are some nasty bites, a brilliant gory head stomp and a fantastic “zombie kill of the week” utilising a famous landmark, but for a zombie movie, the zombie threat and content is pretty sporadic. There are new strains of zombie introduced, but silly nicknames aside that just boils down to dumber ones, smarter ones, and more indestructible ones.

There are a few decent action scenes after the opening, a monster truck is a fun addition, but the finale is weak compared to the funfair-mageddon of the first film. A quite wonderful mid-credits treat will send you back out into the cold with a smile on your face though.
Zombieland: Double Tap is a bit anti-climactic after waiting a decade but it is still mostly funny, exciting and cool; a banter, blood and brains filled road trip with characters you love and all-new all-rad ones.

Zombieland: Double Tap is released in the UK on the 18th of October.

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