Sequels have it hard. Zombieland raked in commercial and critical success for taking the audience off-guard in a period of zombie titles, so what can Zombieland: Double Tap bring to the table? The answer is – plenty.

The franchise capitalises on three things: astute witticisms, irreverent self-awareness and unabashed caricultures. With that, the sequel has unleashed new characters to join the dynamic quartet, ten years after the first film – and boy are you in for a ride.

Zombieland: Double Tap may flicker at parts from overmilking a trope, but director Rubin Fleischer keeps his post-apocalyptic machine running just fine, finessing an admirable sequel that’s just as good as the first.

It’s been ten years since we’ve last seen our survivors, and following real-time, they update us with their decade of zombie hunting, with naming conventions for all types of zombies. Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) narrates this with his geeky enthusiasm, sharing Homers and Ninjas and Hawkings with seasoned glee.

And while he and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) find comfort in their new base at The White House – a setting itself that gave birth to many cutting and funny comments – Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Basin) gets increasingly restless. This situation tips when Columbus proposes to Wichita, and the girls escape that very night from their overbearing guardians.

A heartbroken Columbus mopes, until Madison (Zoey Deutch) appears at a mall. The poor girl has survived by living in cold storage and as air-headed as she is, is a refreshing change from the surly Wichita. To Tallahassee’s ire, Columbus invites Madison to their base.

As luck would have it, that is the time when Witchita reappears. She reports that Little Rock has eloped with a hippie musician, Berkely (Avan Jogia), and with rumours of a new toughed zombie rampaging through the countryside, Wichita is worried for the safety of her little sister. The new foursome then set out to find the youngest member before a T-800 (a Terminator reference Columbus coins of course) does.

Zombieland: Double Tap is exceptionally structured, with brilliant segments following one another like a running stand-up collection. Between Columbus and Wichita, you’ll get doses of acerbic quarrelling. Between Tallahassee and the rest, there’s enough politically incorrect banter to launch a class-action lawsuit. And when Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch perform as doppelgangers (I won’t elaborate here to keep the fun), the episode turns itself inside out with a riveting sequence.

But you can reserve your best chuckles for Madison because that guuurrlll knocked it out of the zombie park. Deutch has somehow performed a Valley Girl stereotype to, like, pitch perfection, then used it to invigorate every scene she’s in (that ending though…). Rarely have I seen such a lovable airhead (though there’s the untouchable Anna Faris in The House Bunny) and every mannerism and moment with this girl is flawlessly funny. I certainly couldn’t contain my giggles with our unstoppable fluffy pink heroine.

While the curse of the sequel may put you off visiting an old classic, Zombieland: Double Tap is every bit as enjoyable and clever as the first, with enough new material to keep fans, both old and new, happy. If the world needs to end with zombies, I’d gladly pick this ending. 

Rating: 4.5*

The sequel might have gotten stuck during production, but it has lost none of its momentum. A sharp script, an on-point Fleischer, and an eyewatering-ly funny performance from Deutch makes the return a welcome one.

First published : www.movieXclusive.com

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