A lot has changed in the 10 years since Zombieland came out. Back in 2009, the biggest name was Bill Murray in his fairly short but memorable cameo. Jesse Eisenberg was a year away from making waves in The Social Network. Woody Harrelson hadn’t exactly been getting the meaty roles back then and Emma Stone was still the up-and-coming comedy star. Now, Stone is an Oscar winner and Harrelson has seen something of a revival. Everything has moved on a fair bit but, surprisingly, all of the main cast have returned for the sequel. There was talk of sorting out a sequel before the first film ever came out but it went through a lot of delays. After 10 years, you have to ask the question: was it still necessary? Back in 2010, there was talk of a new film franchise and a television show. After so many years have passed, what was there to say? Did we really need to revisit these characters? Especially as we couldn’t rely on Billy Murray turning up again to liven everything up.
Do you think you would survive a zombie apocalypse? Do you think you would survive a decade in a zombie apocalypse? One of my biggest question to arise from the release of Zombieland: Double Tap is “how long would a zombie apocalypse last?” I guess I’d never really considered that anyone would be able to stay alive for that long. I mean, surely after a while supplies would run out. Industry would have shut down so who would make the bullets that people so desperately need? Yeah, there’d be a supply out there but how long would it last if everyone was vying for it? Clearly, that isn’t a problem that seems to affect the people from Zombieland. It’s been 10 years and they don’t seem to be running out of ammo any time soon.
In the 10 years since we last saw them, our four nameless heroes have been learning a lot about Zombieland. They have names for the different types of zombies and have come up with more rules for survival. The four have created something of a family with Columbus and Wichita settled into a relationship with Tallahassee taking the role of father figure for Little Rock. When we catch up with them, the group have decided to make a home for themselves in the White House. Unfortunately, the two women are starting to crave their freedom. Little Rock from Tallahassee’s suffocating parenting and Wichita from Columbus’ plans for their future. They head off in the middle of the night, leaving the two men to fend for themselves.
Well, until Wichita comes back to let them know Little Rock has left. This leads to the group, plus a new addition, making their way across the country to try and track her down. Along the way to a hippie commune, they meet new friends, head to Graceland, and discover a new and very dangerous type of zombie. It’s all very unoriginal and basic. There’s nothing really wrong with it but, considering how fresh the first film felt, it’s all a bit disappointing. It might have been 10 years since we’ve last seen them but there is something dated about this film. The slow-motion opening scene? It might have been impressive in 2010 but it’s all a bit meh.
Zombieland 2 is a weird one. On some level it’s fantastic. Seeing the group of actors back together is great. There is wonderful chemistry between them. Particularly with Eisenberg and Harrelson. It shouldn’t work but it does. Probably the reason the pair so much screen-time together. However, as great as the group is, there is a sense that none of them really want to be there anymore. Emma Stone looks uncomfortable and bored at all times. There hasn’t exactly been much in the way of development for anyone. It’s literally just picked up where the first film ended. There is nothing new and exciting here. Everyone, from the actors to the writers to the director, is just going through the motions. Thankfully, the motions are enjoyable enough but it’s a disappointment.
Although, there are some major flaws here. The new characters are never given the attention they deserve. We meet new girl, Madison, played by Zoey Deutch. She’s a blonde bimbo who is only around to be the butt of the joke. She’s got no depth and is given no time. But she at least gets more attention than the rest. Rosario Dawson turns up as Tallahassee’s new love interest and is just a badass with a gun. Then there’s Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch as clones of Tallahassee and Columbus. These three are barely given any time and we never have the chance to really care about them. It’s all just stereotypes that are being used for the plot. It’s a huge shame.
But that’s not to say Zombieland: Double Tap isn’t entertaining. There are still some laughs to be found and there is a lot to be said for familiarity. However, this is a film that was made for the wrong reasons. It wasn’t made because there was a story to be told or a need to keep going. It’s a film that came about from a desire to just do it again. It relies on in-jokes and fan loyalty. It’s not breaking down barriers and it’s not doing anything special. But, during the moments when our main group are messing around together, you can’t help but enjoy the friendships.