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Review: Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

Review: Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)
06 Jan
2021
Not in Hall of Fame

Cast:

Woody Harrelson                      Tallahassee

Jesse Eisenberg                         Columbus

Emma Stone                             Wichita

Abigail Breslin                           Little Rock

Zoey Deutch                             Madison

Avan Jogia                                Berkeley

Rosario Dawson                        Nevada

Luke Wilson                              Albuquerque

Thomas Middleditch                 Flagstaff

Christmas and New years are now in the past, and we were looking for something a little light to watch on a Friday night. Over the last few days we had tried several films to varying degrees of enjoyment for example, 3022 (2019) starring Kate Walsh and Omar Epps … well the movie felt it would last 3022 minutes, luckily we stopped it after 15 minutes…total garbage, don’t waste your time. We also tried the latest remake of “The Saint” (2017) starring Eliza Dushku and Adam Rayner, even though I was a fan of the original series starring Roger Moore, and even liked the first remake with Val Kilmer, this pile of fecal matter was 2 hours of my life that I will never get back. So when cruising by your selection on Netflix, keep going…! We then put on “Last Christmas” (2019) with Henry Golding, Emilia Clarke and Michelle Yeoh, while this movie was light, and actually entertaining, it is more of a seasonal film that will no doubt not last the time. It is now into 2021, and we have tried NETFLIX for the last few films, with no luck in choosing a film to review. I then decided to go back to our stack of unwatched films for the next review. 

So, with that in mind, I selected “Zombieland: Double Tap” for our viewing pleasure. The first Zombieland (2009) was light, fresh, and had some up and coming actors in it, centering around Woody Harrelson as the main draw. While not heavy on a plot, besides surviving a Zombie apocalypse, it did provide an amusing way to kill a few hours. In the sequel “Double Tap” we find our 4 intrepid heroes living in Washington DC, in the White House no less, and really, why not, you are surviving a Zombie Apocalypse, so why not live like you are the leader of what is left of the sane world? Anyways, 10 years has past since the first film, the characters have all grown (ok, well sort of, they are all still immature and kind of goofy) and have adapted completely to life in the new world. Also, we are informed in the intro, that it seems that the zombies have also mutated over the years, becoming even more agile, and smarter (some of them at least), and our heroes have to go to greater lengths to combat them. 

So now back to the plot, Columbus (Eisenberg) proposes to Wichita (Stone), and the new pressure that marriage brings becomes to much for Wichita (Stone) to bear. This leads to our two young ladies wanting to strike out on their own. Mind you for separate reasons, Wichita (Stone) to escape a potentially serious situation with Columbus (Eisenberg) and Little Rock (Breslin) to find herself a boy of her own age. 

Feeling lost and destitute, Tallahassee (Harrelson) and Columbus (Eisenberg) decide that retail therapy might be the key to feeling better, they go shopping. In the mall, after wiping out a few zombies, they come across another survivor, Madison (Deutch). Madison had been living in a cooler in the food court and is longing for attention, and maybe a few brain cells as the I.Q. fairy did not really give her any smarts at birth. She joins the two and return with them back to the White House, where she manages to get all the attention she needs, nudge nudge, wink wink!

Meanwhile, we find that Wichita (Stone) has returned “home” to the White House, looking for weapons, and finds not only them, but Columbus (Eisenberg) with his new paramour Madison (Deutch), and a lonely Tallahassee (Harrelson).  Finding out that Little Rock (Breslin) has hooked up with a hippie dippy type, Berkeley (Jogia), and has joined his search for the fabled Babylon, our heroes saddle up and start their journey to find their lost friend. So, at this point, I have given you the first 15 or so minutes of the film. Needless to say, for the rest of the film, they have some adventures, meet some other survivors, and make other comedic moments before they finally tee up again with Little Rock (Breslin) and Berkeley (Jogia) at Babylon. This reunion will culminate in a comedic battle with a zombie horde, where they will find themselves as well as each other all over again. 

Ok, so as you can see, not much of a plot, however, I did not watch this movie for the plot, but for some comedic escapism, and Double Tap did provide that. It was a silly romp, light on plot, anorexic in character development and dialogue, but it still gave enough humour that allowed us to frequently laugh out loud and escape from the doldrums of our COVID tainted lifestyle. Each actor gave something to the film that we could enjoy, while fully realizing that we are not watching any award winner or something that was deep and meaningful. While on the subject of the cast lets take a look at some of the main characters:

Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee: Harrelson is true to form in this film, he has mastered the good natured country bumpkin to a fine art, in the character of Tallahassee he has also included a bit of redneck to give it a bit of flair. I have been a fan of Harrelson since his early “Cheers” days and have enjoyed almost all of his performances in film and tv. He is an extremely gifted actor with a diverse set of talents that allows him to easily transition from action to comedy to drama. In this role, as the patriarch of their little group, Harrelson leads them across the nation in search of his “adopted daughter” if you will, with a joyful exuberance that is extremely contagious for the audience. His dialogue, while not really complicated or intricate, will make you laugh out loud, as will his physical comedy. For us, Harrelson proved he could be the centrepiece of a film that was light on plot/dialogue, but still could provide the entertainment required to pass the time and ensure it was an enjoyable experience. 

Jesse Eisenberg as Columbus: Eisenberg is one of those rare actors that will make you like the character, but if you meet him in real life you might find him extremely annoying. His nasal delivery and dry wit while funny in a film would probably get what little nerves you have if you are exposed to it for a long period of time. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy many of his films, however, in the case of “Double-Tap” he did not really extend his acting repertoire. He delivered his lines and character in the same way he has done for all of his films with little to no difference. As I mentioned before, there was no real character development in this film, the big item was that he proposed to Wichita to prove his love. Let’s be real, if it was a real life situation, Wichita (Stone) would have been so far out of his league, they would have been in different continents. But for the case of the film, they are the main love interest, and they manage to carry it for the film. Not totally believable, but well enough to make you laugh occasionally. This was not Eisenberg’s best roles, but not his worst either. He did not really have to work at it too much, so I imagine it was an easy paycheque for him. 

Emma Stone as Wichita: Stone is a very talented actress, especially in comedic roles. Her raspy delivery, and wry expressions are always an added bonus to any film that she is part of. She has even made films that are dud’s (i.e. Aloha) into something that I can at least watch till the end. As Wichita, and the main love interest to Columbus, Stone continued her performance as initiated in the first Zombieland. Her chemistry with the main characters were admirable, and I especially enjoyed the jabs that she delivered to both Columbus (Eisenberg) and Tallahassee (Harrelson). As with the other actors in this film, not her worst, and not her best, but still a solid enough performance to watch to the end.

Abigail Breslin as Little Rock: I have never been a huge Breslin fan, sure she has been around for nearly two decades, starting as a child star who was supposed to always be a little precocious. Unfortunately, I always found those roles a tad to annoying for my taste. Even though she has been in a number of entertaining films, I didn’t find her performance to be the anchor to the film or project. In Double Tap, she is no different than what I have seen in the past. While she has lost the “annoyance” factor that I used to dread when she was on the screen, she did not really pick up any real acting skills along the way. At least what was presented in this film anyways. To her benefit, as she was replaying a role that she was used to, she transitioned the character well enough from an annoying adolescent to young adulthood. While her character was the impetus of the storyline, luckily enough, her screen time was actually the least of the 4 main characters. As she is still very young, I am sure her talent and roles will improve and we will see how she grows into them.

Zoey Deutch as Madison: Deutch was actually relatively new to me. When she came on screen as almost a stereo-typed “Valley Girl” of the 80’s, I thought she was familiar and had to look up her career. To my surprise, while she has been in numerous projects over the years, I had only seen her in a few films (Before I fall and Dirty Grandpa). Deutch’s character “Madison” was supposed to come across as an annoying valley girl clone and she did it extremely well! Her intellectually challenged responses and expressions delivered repeatedly and fit her character to a tee. I would actually like to see her skills in an action or extremely dramatic role to see her capabilities. Her character actually made me laugh out loud on several occasions, as her delivery was extremely well timed as well as the physical comedy that she presented throughout the film. I feel like this was a solid performance from an actress who is starting to come up in the field and I look forward to seeing her in other projects, especially in an action or dramatic role. 

Rosario Dawsonas Nevada: Dawson’s films are always a mixed bag, either I really like the role and the film/project or I am completely indifferent. Taking a quick look at her resume, I realized how many projects she has been in that I want to watch but never got around to over the last 20 years, most recently some of the tv shows or series that she has been a part of. As Nevada, she plays a rough and tough survivor running a cheap hotel with an Elvis theme. As we all know, Tallahassee (Harrelson) is an avid Elvis fan, so naturally we can already see where their two characters will go. Harrelson and Dawson have good chemistry together and I enjoyed her character and role. As with the other stars, this will not go down in her award winning performances list, but alas, neither will the film.  

Luke Wilson as Albuquerque and Thomas Middleditch as Flagstaff: I am putting these two actors together as they are only in the film for a few minutes as “clones” of Tallahassee and Columbus. I enjoyed the scenes there were in as they met/confronted their alter ego’s. Their dialogue and physical interactions with Tallahassee and Columbus actually reminded me of early Pink Panther films and how the physical comedy ruled. While not large roles within the film, they did give an added bonus, and helped us enjoy the film writ large. In the case of Wilson, he was never a “A lister” with awesome films, he just plays the same person in each and every role, (much like his brother Owen), and they usually make me laugh a bit. His limited repertoire actually helps this film and his performance was on par with his previous projects. Middleditch was very new to me, and I found his “imitation” of Columbus to be amusing. I have seen that he has been in a great deal of films/shows, just not necessarily things that I have watched. In such cases where he has been in a show that I have seen his character, like in this film was very minimal. However, having said that, I did find both of them amusing in the film and we enjoyed the scenes that they were part of.

So, now the big question, were we entertained? Yes, we were. Zombieland: Double Tap was a light enjoyable film that did not require anyone to actually think to much. Solid performances from Stone and Harrelson helped propel this project to something that almost anyone would enjoy. Do not pick this film if you expect it to be as good as the first one (it was not), but only if you want to kill a few hours, have a few laughs and actually turn off the brain. 

Our score: 6/10

If you are interested in watching anything from some of the main actors, please consider the following recommendations:

Woody Harrelson                      Cheers, War for the Planet of the Apes, Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Hunger Games (Franchise), True Detective, Now You See Me, Zombieland, Defendor, Kingpin, Money Train.

Jesse Eisenberg                         Zombieland, Justice League, Batman v Superman, The Social Network, 

Emma Stone                             Easy A, Zombieland, The Amazing Spiderman, Friends with Benefits, Superbad.

Abigail Breslin                           Zombieland, Enders Game, Definitely Maybe.

Zoey Deutch                             Before I fall, Dirty Grandpa

Rosario Dawson                        Jane the Virgin, Sin City: A Dame to Kill for, Seven Pounds, Sin City

Wishing everyone a great 2021 and till the next time!