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ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP gets 7/10 Dead funny


Directed by Ruben Fleischer

Starring Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin, Jessie Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Zoey Deutch

7/10

The Zombieland sequel we never knew we wanted blasts its way into our hearts with a quick comedic introduction to the new ecology of the zombies (a quick ranking of their toughness, paving the way for something tougher down the track), before launching into an action packed title sequence, with the group attacking the White House. Zombieland: Double Tap doesn’t skip a beat in its setup, catapulting viewers straight into the story, and linking us back up with our group of survivors a decade later.

Columbus (Jessie Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) have made a tight knit family as they’ve cut a swath through the zombie apocalypse, but after a decade that bond is starting to fray. Little Rock has grown up, and wants to set out on her own, and Wichita fears that she is getting too attached to Columbus. Soon the group splinters, setting out from their makeshift home of the White House, to step out in a world that has an evolving new threat, a tougher kind of zombie.

In an often overstuffed and played out genre, this zom-com sequel reminds us why the original was so good, and pays it proper respect. Zombieland was first and foremost entertaining, and Zombieland: Double Tap follows in those footprints. It keeps the lurid, easy going style of the first, allowing Columbus’ off kilter, somewhat neurotic narration to guide us through the world. It also maintains the over-the-top graphic cartoon violence, revelling in the gory nature of the zombie genre, but never taking itself too seriously, as it seeks to top itself with action scenes (appropriately escalated to Zombie Kill of the Year). This strikes the right tonal balance between the gore and nihilism inherent in the zombie genre, and the celebration of the anarchic free-spirit in the survivor genre.

Of course it doesn’t hurt to have a cast of Oscar nominated (or winning) actors to come back to. Breslin, Eisenberg, Stone and Harrelson are having a blast here, obviously enjoying the chance to cut loose in a comedy. Zoey Deutch makes a welcome addition to the cast, as the rather vapid Madison, completely committing to the role, and managing to steal many of the laughs.

Like the film itself states, it’s not worth sweating the minutiae of the world, hand waving and lamp-shading a number of the technical issues that would have arisen from a decade of the apocalypse. Zombieland is meant to be viewed as a thrilling carnival ride, rather than a deeper metaphor about the state of the world or the human condition. Zombieland: Double Tap might not break new ground in the Zombie horror genre, or explore the thematic of loss and family as effectively as the first, but it does provide an enjoyable sequel.

DAVID O’CONNELL

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