Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg (who somehow hasn’t aged a day in ten years), Woody Harrelson, and Abigail Breslin play our beloved old characters with their destructive old habits, but this time, they have some newer, faster, stronger zombies to face. Ruben Fleischer, paired with the ever-hilarious writers of Deadpool, were able to create a riotous film that had the audience both shocked and amused.
During Zombieland: Nut Up or Shut Up (2009), we navigated the zombie-filled wasteland with the well-prepared Columbus as he teamed up with two mischief-making sisters, Little Rock and Wichita, and a hypermasculine sharpshooter, Tallahassee. Carefully following Columbus’s survival rules, the gang headed up towards Pacific Playland, the California safe-haven (and the home of the worlds’ last few twinkies), meeting (and killing) many a zombie (or not zombie) along the way.
Faced with the next stages of the zombie apocalypse in Zombieland: Double Tap, the gang settles down--but just for a bit. While Columbus wants to find a permanent home, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock are afraid of being tied down. After Wichita and Little Rock leave abruptly, Little Rock runs off with a musician (a classic teen girl move) to go to a pacifist safe-haven, and a worried Wichita returns to gather the rest of the gang to go find her. But with hoards of the new and evolved zombies (T-800s) out there, saving Little Rock provides itself with challenges the gang feels unprepared to handle alone.
In the ten years since Zombieland: Nut Up or Shut Up, the special and visual effects, as well as the gore makeup, have gone to the next level to match the T-800s. The extremely complicated, creative, and well-executed fight and stunt choreography contributed to the pure badassery of the characters we know and love.
Also, the development of Tallahassee is the most notable. In Nut Up or Shut Up, Tallahassee is a grieving father who exerts his negative feelings into his ego and his relentless killings. By Double Tap, Tallahassee embraces his feelings of affection towards a new love interest and readily asserts his role as a father figure for Little Rock. He becomes selfless, ready to sacrifice himself so that his “family” may live on.
Wichita and Little Rock also have significant growth. Having gotten used to the on-the-go lifestyle of the zombie apocalypse, the two ladies struggle with staying put. However, as the film progresses, the women realize that a home base is not just crucial, but comfortable.
To add to Columbus’s list of rules, I add Rule # 74: See Double Tap with all the knowledge from Nut Up or Shut Up. That is, Double Tap’s humor relies a bit on running jokes from the first film. The peculiarities and habits of the characters developed in Nut Up or Shut Up continue into Double Tap, and are almost necessary to fully enjoy the second film.
That being said, Double Tap, like Nacho Libre or any film in the Scary Movie series, is self-aware. It knows that it is a goofy zombie movie, and it pokes fun at itself. Double Tap is not meant to be a classic or an intellectual film. It’s a film to watch when you need a laugh or a little stress relief. It’s a sweet reminder to not take things too seriously. Laugh at the absurd, gory, flat-out ridiculous events. View Zombieland 2: Double Tap with a tired brain, knowing that it will be eaten by neither zombies nor a convoluted plotline.