Well, it’s been ten years and we’ve remade/sequelized everything else, let’s do a sequel to [*rolls dice*throws darts*sacrifices chicken to Baal*] Zombieland!
Which, hey, why not? It’s been a pretty good ten years for everyone, except maybe Jesse Eisenberg. I mean, I guess he got to be Lex Luthor but I think he’s now the most hated Lex Luthor in history, and not in a good way. But I don’t really know. Everyone’s back, though. Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and grown-up Abigail Breslin reprise their roles.
When our movie opens, Columbus (Eisenberg) and Wichita (Stone) are shacked up in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House while Tallahassee (Harrelson) is being Tallahassee and Little Rock (Breslin) is lamenting her romantic options, which are zero. Columbus proposes to Wichita, freaking her out, so she takes off with Little Rock in Tallahassee’s souped-up zombie car, leaving Columbus to mope while Tallahassee tells him to snap out of it, and that the girls are never coming back.
When you have to type them all out, you quickly realize how unwieldy this “call people by their home city” thing really is.
And so Columbus ends up meeting Madison in a mall. Now, Madison, played by Zoey Deutch is the best new addition to the Zombieland family. There are certain roles that are difficult for most actresses to pull off. Like “bitch”. It’s not just acting bitchy—almost any actress (any woman, amirite guys?) can do that. To be a great movie bitch, you have to be antagonistic and compelling and somehow even likable, or you just end up with an unwatchable cringey mess.
But Madison’s character is bubbly and superficially attractive while being appallingly shallow—and yet still likable. And Deutch manages to pull this off as the girl who’s hung out in a mall freezer for years to stay alive, but has lost not a sparkle of her glittery persona throughout the apocalypse. She jumps Columbus—of course just in time for Wichita to come back.
Seems that Little Rock ditched her for a smelly hippie and there’s a horde of really nasty zombies (T-900s, I think they call them, because this movie is nothing if not culturally aware), so now the foursome have to venture out to rescue her.
This is not a movie that’s going to surprise you much. There are some twists, but they’re pretty transparent. There’s a cute bit where Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch play analogues of Harrelson and Eisenberg. Rosario Dawson is in this, and is far more convincingly attracted to Harrelson than she is to a certain Presidential candidate. Avan Jogia, as Berkeley, plays the hippie who woos away Little Rock by singing Dylan and “Freebird”.
The whole movie mocks the smelly peace-loving hippies, who in disarming themselves have left themselves open to a major assault by the newer, badder zombies. It has been pointed out that Hollywood is particularly unconvincing about their gun control position, since the theme of maybe most action films is, “Sometimes you need a gun.” But it’s not really a political movie. It’s fun, light, fairly brainless, and reminiscent of both the previous movie and director Ruben Fleischer’s other work (besides the last Zombieland, see Gangster Squad and Venom) which all seem to carry the message of no-real-message-just-sit-back-and-have-fun.
Worth a watch, if you liked the first one—oh, and you’re not squeamish. Though it’s not as gory as I recall the first one being, it still has its moments.
Nice stinger with Bill Murray. Oh, and another nice bit, riffing on Uber which was not a thing 10 years ago.
And I notice now that I have no pictures of the zombies or any zombie attacks and there aren’t a lot of them on the web. I may be wrong but I think the zombie thing is finally over (after 20 years, holy crap!) and it’s just an incidental part of this post-apocalyptic film series now.