“Welcome to Zombieland. Back for seconds? After all this time? Well, what can I say, but thank you. You have a lot of choices when it comes to zombie entertainment, and we appreciate you picking us.”
Zombieland was an unexpected gem, a cynical and yet strangely joyous take on the apocalypse. Although fans clamoured for a sequel, the rising stars of Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone meant that it took a full decade to arrive and in many ways that is Double Tap‘s biggest problem in a saturated genre, even as Columbus addresses it in his introductory voice over. The chief culprit is the script which, although it contains a few laugh-out-loud moments, is largely a retread of the original’s road trip formula. The handful of new characters we meet are one-note caricatures rather than rounded individuals with the emotional depth that elevated Zombieland. Similarly, the high energy of a mid-credits flashback sequence serves only to highlight how muted Double Tap often feels. The result: a frequently entertaining but decidedly shallow sequel that offers no reason to rewatch it rather than its predecessor.
“I don’t know what to do, man. All these sites have different shit. There’s not a lot of consensus in the bomb disarming community!”
Ruben Fleischer’s feature-length follow-up to the excellent Zombieland is neither as fresh nor as successful, though much of the blame lies with a “comedy” script in which I can barely identify a single actual joke. With a hapless pizza delivery driver forced to rob a bank when two incompetent criminals strap a bomb to his chest, 30 Minutes or Less has the sensibilities of a slacker/stoner movie, where a functionally coherent plot is generally considered sufficient. Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari commit to their roles but their talents are largely wasted here. Thankfully, the film is only one and a half hours long; preferably it would have been 30 minutes or less.
“That’s good. It’s good to be positive despite making zero progress in a year.”
The level of smartness of this sequel is evident from the fact they failed to call it Now You Don’t. Where the original was a surprise success with stylish sleight of hand distracting from its lack of substance, this movie fails to cover its tracks at all. The freshness is gone, but so too is the tension. The tricks are now overblown and ridiculous, to the point that each time one is revealed it induces a groan rather than amazement. There is no magic here.