What made the first Zombieland more interesting than it had any right to be was its attention to dweebish detail, in partcilar its lists of dos and donts when navigating a new American landscape where the undead were a daily danger, but a danger that could be reduced to a mere nuisance if the protocols devised by the film’s redneck hero, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), were followed to the letter. His opposite number, the bookish rube Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), needed some time to absorb this wisdom, and while he managed to adjust a few tenets and add some corollaries of his own, the basic manual of chopping and shooting survived into this sequel, whose very title references one of the rules, which is to ensure that a zombie is really finished by zapping it twice with whatever weapon is at hand.
Otherwise, what is mostly maintained is the spirit of stereotyping that, unfortunately, makes whatever nuanced takes on the zombie zeitgeist offered by Double Tap secondary to the immediate identification it provides to the ruder fanboys. It’s been ten years since the original, so maybe time has just been crueler to the overall concept. Irony, for sure, is deader than a double tapped zombie.
The main drawback is that the women are depicted as being even less useful (and less funny) than they were the first time. Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who was a little girl in the original, is now a grown-ass woman who runs away with a hippie, of all people. Wichita (Emma Stone), whose waggish con-woman schtick provides more credible cynicism than Tallahassee’s kill-em-all sensibility, doesn’t exactly make it as half of a couple, especially when the other half is the purposely annoying Columbus. Most of the plot has to do with these three chasing Little Rock with the added company of a dumb blonde named Madison (Zoey Deutch), who sparks jealous competition on the part of Wichita. Then there’s the doppelganger pair (Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch) who only compound the irritation provided by the Tallahassee-Columbus dynamic. The only thing to be said about the lazy road movie structure is that it allows our mortal mirth-makers chances to camp out in both the White House and Graceland, where the opportunity for cosplay proves irresistible to them and excruciating to the viewer. Regardless of Madison’s pleas for everybody not to be “super-judgy,” my verdict is that these people need to get out of the U.S. Does Europe have zombies, too?
Now playing in Tokyo at Toho Cinemas Hibiya (050-6868-5068), Toho Cinemas Shinjuku (050-6868-5063), Toho Cinemas Roppongi Hills (050-6868-5024).
Zombieland Double Tap home page in Japanese.