Rule #8: Get a great partner.
This rule works for films as well. Your moviegoing experience is only as good as the film you are watching.
This week our cinema partners are those lovable zombie slayers Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Bresiln).
The entire group is back for the “Zombieland” sequel, “Zombieland 2: Double Tap.”
“Zombieland 2: Double Tap” lives up to its name as the film hits the double tap and hits it hard.
There are, in my opinion, two ways to do a sequel and to do it properly.
The first version, version A, is storytelling and adding context, character, and depth to the world the film takes place in and the characters in that world. The best example of this version is “Godfather 2.”
Another example is the recent “Star Wars” trilogy. "The Force Awakens” was great brought the world of Star Wars back to life but people complained. Specifically, they complained it felt too much like “A New Hope.”
This lead to “The Last Jedi,” a much more polarizing film. “The Last Jedi” was a great film, terrible Star Wars movie. The film was so hated people wanted to remake it.
Sometimes, your complaints are heard and you have to be careful what you wish for, especially with sequels.
The second version, version B, is to go all in on what made the first film great and amplifying it. The “double down” if you will. One of the most notable examples of this is “The Hangover 2.”
There are many who complained about “The Hangover 2” and those complaints inevitably made the trilogy worse because they gave us “The Hangover 3.”
“The Hangover 3” is what you do not want in a sequel. In “The Hangover 3,” they changed as much as they could and forgot what made the franchise great and funny.
“The Hangover 2” was absolutely repetitive but it was funny and that ultimately meant more to the franchise than anything. “The Hangover 3” was not funny.
“The Hangover 3” tried to concentrate on interpersonal group dynamics or experiencing the group in a film rather than putting the group through an experience in a film.
The latter was the first two “Hangover” films and they just worked better.
This was my biggest fear with “Zombieland 2: Double Tap.”
What course would it choose and would it be worse? want out of a sequel is better if you can but the bar everyone wants a sequel to clear is to not be worse. Better is good but not being worse is, well, better.
“Zombieland 2: Double Tap” does a sequel properly as the movie use version B and doubles down on what made the first film good.
The movie starts when the gang leaves the confines of the White House to travel to Graceland in Memphis, Tenn. after Little Rock runs away with her new “boyfriend.”
Along the way, they encounter other post-apocalyptic warriors. The other warriors make the film feel more interesting and lets you contrast them with the main characters so the main group never feel repetitive or overused.
The best version of this is Zoey Deutch as Madison. The contrast between her and the often cold and dismissive Wichita makes you clamor for more Wichita. In regards to her relationship with Columbus at least.
On the screen you may clamor for more Madision because Zoey Deutch is hilarious in bringing and over exaggerated personality to the film.
What Deutch brings as either a part of or as the lead in each scene eventually become the funniest scenes in “Zombieland 2: Double Tap.”
The other group of survivors who the Zombieland gang find taking refuge in a commune are Albuquerque and Flagstaff.
Albuquerque is played by Luke Wilson and Flagstaff is played by Thomas Middleditch.
The pair create a meta narrative and mimic the likes of Tallahassee and Columbus creating this meta moments where Tallahassee and Columbus are essentially picking on themselves.
These scenes are also some of the funniest in “Zombieland 2: Double Tap.” Thomas Middleditch is exceptionally funny mimicking Jesse Eisenberg’s Columbus.
The Zombieland group of scrappy fighters are not just met with new groups of people but with new faster and seemingly indestructible zombies.
The new zombie favorite won’t be the new faster indestructible zombies but the new and often comedic “Homer” zombie.
The “Homer” zombie is a fantastic creation and one of the best new aspects to the Zombieland world.
New zombies and new people bring new situations for the films core group of Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Bresiln) but the core group is still why you see “Zombieland 2: Double Tap.”
“Zombieland 2: Double Tap” doubles down on Tallahassee’s jokes and catch phrases, Columbuses’ rules, Wichita’s snarkiness, and Little Rock’s soul searching.
The moments in the Whitehouse with our lead group are comedic gold. Madison is comedy genius and the lead group offer a comedic nostalgia that make “Zombieland 2: Double Tap” a really fun and funny sequel.
The movie offers exactly nothing new but it does give you the best of what made “Zombieland” a great watch.
The film never tries to placate the audience it just presents “Zombieland 2: Double Tap” for what it is and that is a violent and funny stoner film and then it doubles down on it.
“Zombieland” fans will most likely not be upset by “Zombieland 2: Double Tap.”
Some may feel “Zombieland 2: Double Tap” is hokey or even too jokey.
Others may feel it is too average and offers nothing new but one thing is true, “Zombieland 2: Double Tap” knows what it is and it sticks to it.
Above I stated I believe there are two ways sequels are don well.
“Zombieland 2: Double Tap” chose a direction and it stuck with it and the film is all the better because of that decision.
As far as sequels go “Zombieland 2: Double Tap” is great but not perfect but before you criticize too much remember the above examples and be careful what you wish for.
Rule #22: When in doubt, know your way out.
“Double Tap” doubles down and you will not need a way out during “Zombieland 2: Double Tap.”
You can’t spend all your time worrying about whether or not “Zombieland 2: Double Tap” is a good movie.
The best advice is to just go see “Zombieland 2: Double Tap.” Then follow rule #32 and just sit back and enjoy the little things.
IRATE SCORE: 3/5
Jason Guyer is an avid moviegoer and works in the graphics department at the Eagle Times. For questions or comments he can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org