“If you don’t have sex with me right now, I am going to ask out the older guy to do it….I have been living in a freezer for months now”
Actor Zoey Deutch as Madison in “Zombieland: Double Tap”
To review a Zombie film is like doing something outrageously predictable as there are over 2 dozen odd films made by Hollywood and even a “Go Goa Gone” by Bollywood with Saif Ali Khan.
I mean just look at the fact that the storyline of a Zombie film is about a bunch of survivors trying to run and hide until they themselves get consumed by the said disease/virus or whatever is the cause of human extinction. Be it “The Walking Dead” or “Dawn Of the Dead”, the genre has been in circulation for over 4 decades.
In this convoluted and crowded universe, “Zombieland” as an idea tries to innovate on this genre. The kills, the zombies, the blood or the gore is pretty much out there but what Director Ruben Fleishcer does is that he develops and maintains the humanity of each of its lead characters by throwing in destressing objects and inserts which essentially reduces the awe and horror of Zombies but builds on the personal qualities of its lead protagonists.
THE IDEA BEHIND ZOMBIELAND : DOUBLE TAP
“Zombieland-Double Tap” is directed by Ruben Fleishcher and stars Woody Harrelson(Tallahassee), Jesse Eisenberg (Columbus), Emma Stone (Reno)and Abigail Breslin (Little Rocks)in pivotal roles. The film chronicles their journey on a road trip as survivors from the first “Zombieland”(2009) film onto finding greener pastures and a safe haven called “Babylon” which might save them from the zombie outbreak. On route they cross known American landmarks and find refuge in them. In between, pandemonium ensues amongst this “ad-hoc family” where Tallahassee considers himself a father to Little Rock while Reno and Columbus find love in each other. In this story, new characters get introduced and the dynamics between them evolve and they encounter several challenges while reaching out for “Babylon”
WHAT IS DIFFERENT IN THE PLOT OF ZOMBIELAND : DOUBLE TAP FROM OTHER ZOMBIE FILMS?
All major characters in the movie are named after places such as Reno, Little Rock and Columbus. All of them have one specific quality or the other. Tallahassee is very good with guns and fancies himself as Elvis as well presents himself as a cowboy. Columbus is high on research and strategy. Reno is excellent with guns and so on.
The highlight of the movie has to be the “Survival Rules” of Columbus which include “Stay Away From Bathroom”, “Don’t be stingy and use 2 bullets to confirm the kill”, “Double Tap” “Zombie Kill Of The Year”, “Ask for help” , “Teamwork” and many more. The best part of the narrative is that these rules come out in huge block letters on the screen and the viewer kind of gets engaged in the story of these survivors.
Woody Harrelson’s character Tallahassee is a big fan of Elvis and aims to reach Graceland. This might seem totally unnecessary to a lot of people who are expecting the thrill and gore of a “Walking Dead” type story.
Little Rock runs away from all of them after she meets an “Indian-American” out of nowhere on the highway who is called “Berkley”. He looks like a druggie with an Osho like cult. He looks like a ‘liberal’ in a zombie movie.
The appearance of two “mirror” characters similar to Tallahassee and Columbus is very unexpected.
The fact that the main characters don’t believe that there is a secure future, they call each other by the names of the destinations they want to pursue. As they don’t want to be too familiar with each other.
The movie believes that there is a bomb underneath the seat of the viewer but when it will explode is the key to the storytelling.
THE POLITICAL OVERTONE IN ZOMBIELAND : DOUBLE TAP
It quite categorically showed that the inhabitants in “Babylon” are lovers of non-violence. They burn all the weapons to maintain peace. But Tallahassee and gang are hardcore shooters and zombie killers. In one of the climax scenes, when a swarm of evolved zombies attack Babylon, the liberals and non-violent Babylonians refuse to negotiate on killing. Its fascinating to see that the writers and directors had found enough logic to have a politically inclined divide in the “society” post an apocalypse. I would see this as a Left Vs Right wing mention given the current state of affairs in the US. The film also shows White House as a ruin in the initial scenes. All these have political overtones.
Woody Harrelson shines totally as the semi-cracker of an individual who cries like a child when he doesn’t have control over his adoptive daughter Little Rock and at the same time pulverizes scores of Zombies in one go. His confused mental state is the highlight of the film.
Emma Stone and Jesse Eisenberg build emotional depth in a dark comedy like this. Although there is nothing to write home about.
Zoey Deutch as Madison who is quite well portrayed as a ‘super dumb blonde’ provides the comic relief. She and Harrelson have the best scenes in the movie.
I would give “Zombieland: Double Tap” a 6 out of 10 for the effort it makes to normalize an apocalyptic world. This movie at 98 minutes in length is a breezy one time watch!