Release Date(s)2019 (January 21, 2020)
Studio(s)Columbia Pictures/2.0 Entertainment/Pariah (Sony Pictures)
- Film/Program Grade: B-
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: B-
Ten years after the zombie apocalypse laid waste to Humanity and brought our characters together in Zombieland (2009), we catch up with Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) living large at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—because where else would you set up camp if you could live anywhere in America? But even the Presidential life is not all fun and games. The zombies, it seems, are getting smarter and tougher. And Little Rock and Wichita are getting bored of staying put. It doesn’t help that Little Rock is beginning to realize that she may never have a boyfriend or meet anyone else her own age. So the girls decide to take off… without telling the boys, who naturally decide to go after them. And once they’re on the road again, it’s not long before they encounter other survivors, including Madison (Zoey Deutch), Nevada (Rosario Dawson), and a host of misfits who make things more interesting for our anti-heroes… but far more dangerous too.
So… how to begin? There’s plenty one could say when reviewing Zombieland: Double Tap. Essentially, here’s the gist: If you loved the original Zombieland, you’ll probably like this one too. But if you didn’t like Zombieland, this sequel isn’t going to win you over either. Not only is Double Tap not a better film than the original, it’s not even as good. Part of what made Zombieland so refreshing was that it came seemingly out of left field. Other than Shaun of the Dead, few zombie comedies had really gone mainstream before (even Army of Darkness was more of a cult hit). But since 2009, zombies have literally and figuratively exploded all over popular culture. And thanks to The Walking Dead TV series, seemingly every possible configuration of survivor and zombie conflict has been endlessly explored. It’s pretty hard to find originality in this sub-genre now, is what I’m saying. Not only does Fleischer recycle his own gags for this sequel, he recycles material from Shaun of the Dead and other zombie media too. Even the first film’s schtick of Bill Murray showing up as himself can’t really be topped, so Fleischer doesn’t even bother to try—he just brings him back for a flashback. It’s all cute to a point, but we’ve been there and done that. Still, newcomer Zoey Deutch manages to deliver a few good laughs (her character is so clichéd it shouldn’t work, but it does) and Rosario Dawson eventually adds something fresh-ish to the mix as well.
Zombieland: Double Tap was shot digitally in the ARRIRAW codec at 3.4K using a variety of Arri Alexa cameras with Panavision Primo and T-Series anamorphic lenses. It was finished as a 2K Digital Intermediate at the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, upsampled to 4K and graded for high dynamic range (HDR10 is available on this disc). Clarity is by and large impressive, barring a bit of optical softness around the edges of the frame. Fine detail is good and texturing of skin and textiles is excellent. Colors are a tad richer and more nuanced than on the regular Blu-ray—there’s a bit of banding visible in the sky occasionally that 12-bit Dolby Vision would have eliminated, but there’s still a definite improvement here over the regular 8-bit Blu-ray. The HDR grants the contrast a bit more dynamism, making the blacks quite a bit deeper and allowing the highlights a nearly eye-reactive pop. All in all, this is a great looking image for a 2K upsample.
Primary audio on the 4K disc is presented in English DTS:X format and it’s outstanding. The object-based nature of this mix allows for added spaciousness and smoother movement. Effects cues are aggressive and well-staged, with crisp clarity and plenty of meaty low end. The height channels add nice completion to the soundstage overhead and kick in too for select zombie kills, vehicle effects (particularly Albuquerque’s monster truck), and the Babylon “zombie fall” in the climax. Additional audio options include English and French Descriptive Audio, 5.1 Dolby Digital in Czech, French, Hungarian, Polish Voice Over, Latin Spanish, and Thai, and 5.1 DTS-HD MA in Portuguese and Castilian Spanish. Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, Arabic, Cantonese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Czech, French, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Castilian Spanish, Latin Spanish, and Thai.
Sony’s 4K disc includes two special features only:
- Audio Commentary with Director Ruben Fleischer
- Zombieland Ad Council (HD – :32)
But the package also includes the film in 1080p on a Blu-ray that adds the following (in HD):
- Extended Bloopers & Outtakes (4:52)
- Deleted Scenes (9 scenes – 12:42 in all)
- The Doppelgangers (7:02)
- A Day with Bill Murray (3:11)
- The Rides of Zombieland (4:14)
- Rules for Making a Zombie Film (9:10)
- Making Babylon (5:04)
- New Blood (4:51)
- Single Take Doppelganger Fight (2:18)
There are also preview trailers for Spider-Man: Far from Home, Men in Black: International, Jumanji: The Next Level, The Grudge (2020), and Bad Boys for Life.
The director’s commentary is pretty standard; Fleischer talks about the project and offers behind-the-scenes stories, trivia, and insights on the production. His voice is a bit monotone, but he never loses his train of thought and he keeps the track lively and interesting. The rest of the extras are of the pretty typical EPK variety—talking heads with B-roll footage. They’re worth a look, but aren’t going to blow you away. Some of the deleted scenes are cute. The best of the extras offers bonus footage of Bill Murray shooting his end credits flashback. You also get a Movies Anywhere Digital code on a paper insert.
Zombieland: Double Tap isn’t a bad movie, but it is a little disappointing—it’s nowhere near as refreshing and original as the first film. Still, if you love these characters, and don’t mind more of the same, the film offers just enough that’s new to hold your interest. You could certainly find worse ways to spend a couple of hours (and Sony’s 4K UHD is certainly your best viewing option).
- Bill Hunt