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‘Zombieland: Double tap’ review: This franchise should have never come back

A still from ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

When a film’s opening credits include brutally annihilating zombies accompanied to Metallica’s Master of Puppets, you know you’re in for a really fun ride. But then when the same film has two men fighting over parking in a driveway that alludes to bedding a woman, you know irreverence has taken a turn for the crass. That’s about the gist of Zombieland: Double Tap, the sequel to the 2009 critically and commercially successful comedy about the undead.

A decade after the end of the first instalment, the four protagonists continue to live in a post-apocalyptic world in somewhat domestic bliss, forming their own version of a family. Zombies have mutated into variants: the dim-witted Homer (a la The Simpsons), clever Hawking (for the scientist) and the silent killer, Ninja. But now the T800 (hat tip to Terminator) has emerged: faster, deadlier and harder to kill. Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) and Wichita (Emma Stone) have hit a rut in their romantic relationship.

Zombieland: Double Tap
  • Director: Ruben Fleischer
  • Cast: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, and Emma Stone
  • Storyline: Little Rock has left her herd and charted for unknown territories. Columbus, Wichita and Tallahassee must save her from the undead

Teenager Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) yearns for people her own age and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) is just a strange middle-aged man who does as he pleases. When Little Rock abandons the group in search of Babylon, a zombie-free haven, the rest must save her before the undead get to her.

As far as flippant tongue-in-cheek comedies go, the first Zombieland perfectly captured a refreshing flavour. But in a bid to beat a dead horse into life, its sequel pushes the humour several notches too far. Stereotypes abound, disrespectfully so. In an age when feminism is hopefully permeating through thick skulls world over, it’s a real shame to see a supporting character, Madison (Zoey Deutch) get mocked cruelly with dumb blonde jokes. Worse is the representation of a long-haired pacifist, Berkley (Avan Jogia) who’s only good for plagiarising Bob Dylan songs and partaking in the green with open-toed sandals and Aztec print-like long sweaters.

The expectation for fully realised supporting characters is definitely a stretch in a franchise like Zombieland, but the acutely exaggerated clichés induce more eye-rolls than laughs.

There are fleeting moments of genuine humour — a ‘Zombie Kill of the Year’ award and specifically a hilarious doppelgänger sequence featuring Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch. Tallahassee’s obsession with Graceland and a running gag about being stuck with a minivan too elicits several chuckles.

The gore, thankfully, is incredibly fun with plenty of creative ways to kill a zombie. But most often, Zombieland: Double Tap tries too hard to please. A supposedly self-aware narration — “thank you for choosing our zombie-themed entertainment” — one-too-many wise-cracks and the characters’ affinity to be leather-wearing gun-toting cool makes this sequel border on the insufferable.

Like the zombies they’re trying to kill, this franchise should never have come back.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 5:57:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/zombieland-double-tap-review-this-franchise-should-have-never-come-back/article29742658.ece

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