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Zombieland: Double Tap (Blu-ray Review)

One of my favorite films of 2009, doubling as one of my favorite undead films as well, was Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland. Back then, I was hoping and hoping for a sequel, but so many years passed that when it was announced they were finally doing it ten years later, my excitement was pretty middling (Though, I enjoyed the trailer). Oddly enough, people were actually pretty excited to return to the comedic land of zombies as the film almost even with the original and improving international numbers for a bigger global take. You’d think this had been bigger, more heard about a success story, but it came and went pretty quietly. Perhaps we will get a Zombieland: Triple Tap in 2029. But, for now, we can relive Zombieland: Double Tap on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD (released January 21, 2020) as it is available now. Ordering from the link below should be noted that it is from a paid Amazon Associates account.

Film

Zombie slayers Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita, and Little Rock leave the confines of the White House to travel to Graceland in Memphis, Tenn. Along the way, they encounter other post-apocalyptic warriors and a group of survivors who find refuge in a commune. The scrappy fighters must now rely on their wits and weapons more than ever as they soon find themselves in a relentless battle against smarter, faster, and seemingly indestructible zombies.

For the first 1/3 of Zombieland: Double Tap, the film was back in business. A natural pick up from ten years prior. The lingo, the cast, the feeling was all well and returned. As the film continues to unravel, the goods are still there, but they begin to slowly start wearing out as the plot really doesn’t go anywhere or do anything challenging or interesting. This sequel is literally just hanging out with our characters, and most of the time in a vehicle traveling. Ruben Fleischer’s film is a short one, clocking in at around 98 minutes (10 minutes longer than the original), but it feels much longer than that.

There isn’t fault in focusing on these characters far more than any zombie action. It’s the right move, as the characters and their chemistry was the overall strength of what made the first one so good. However, none of them learn much here or grow. Emma Stone’s Wichita is relegated to now stereotypical bitter girlfriend/ex-girlfriend, and Abigail Breslin is almost entirely written out. The males don’t fare much better either as Eisenberg’s Columbus has no arc other than “Just wait around and everything will wrap up fine cuz the script says so,” and Woody Harrelson’s development is “Here’s a love interest for you for a scene.” While the movie brings in some new blood, they only serve to bring it to a status quo. I’m not asking for anything profound from a zombie comedy, but none of these characters face any serious danger or stakes. Zoey Deutch should be touched upon as being pretty great here, and Fleischer comes close to, but never abuses her with too much screen time. To boot, the Doppelganger segment, while brief, knocks it out of the park.

Zombieland: Double Tap cost a little less than double the original (Though, it is ten years of inflation later), but ultimately looks and feels a lot cheaper. The film sets out with some big sets and pieces, but the movie never stays for long in those places and is sneakily just halls, bedrooms, and emptiness outside. There are far too many scenes of characters in a vehicle just driving around and chatting. While I wanted character interactions, they could at least get out of the car once in a while. Credit due, when the film does exit a vehicle, the zombies, gore, make-up, and sequences are very well done, look genuine, and like they did cost something.

Maybe this universe is just tapped out with nothing much less to say or add. Zombieland: Double Tap is simply a ten years later victory lap from the first film, celebrating it a bit too far past its point of impact and relevance. However, audiences apparently did enjoy it, making it a decent hit at the box office. It should be noted that it is the rare circumstance where a zombie film had a sequel carried over its entire cast and continued with their lives. The Resident Evil series is the only other that comes to mind as doing that (And it’s primarily just one character we follow onward). Fleischer’s film isn’t without its moments with some very good humorous bits and interaction. The cast improves upon a pretty weak plot/script, but those going in should keep your expectations pretty minimal.

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: While Zombieland: Double Tap is available on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray, we were only sent the standard Blu-ray release for this review. That said, this is a pretty terrific looking Blu-ray, managing a clean, crisp image, ripe with detail, and able to give a pretty complete experience. It’s not a pretty looking image, as it opts for a more washed-out look, but one might wonder if a bit more full color with the addition of HDR could make an improvement. As is though, you probably can’t ask for much better when it comes to our old friend, the 1080p presentation.

Depth: Depth of field is rock solid here, but nothing overly three dimensional about the film. It just handles foreground and background relations quite well. No issues arise from rapid action/camera movements as characters/objects float freely and naturally through every frame.

Black Levels: Blacks are pretty deep an on the darker side than grayer, which is pretty good for what I’m assuming is a digital picture. No crushing witnessed. Details are held onto pretty well where intended.

Color Reproduction:  The overall look of the film has a bit of cold, washed-out tone to it, but there are striking colors to come through with the town of Babylon and its rainbow color scheme. Green has good saturation with good deep, dark tones on some jackets and clothing. Zoey Deutch’s clothing all pops with its bright pink colors.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are a little colder/washed and maintain consistency from start to finish. Facial features and textures can be discerned pretty easily in medium and close up shots. Some pretty impressive details shine through in lengthy distances on zombie and “allergy” make-up.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Descriptive Audio Service, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, French Audio Descriptive Service, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Portuguese Audio Descriptive Service, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Cantonese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, Indonesian, Korean, Malaysian, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese,

Dynamics: Zombieland: Double Tap offers a vintage 5.1 style surround outing despite the 4K Ultra-HD counterpart going in on the modern DTS:X trappings. The 5.1 experience is a fine one, supplying “the goods.” Its a loud and concert-like fun experience thought of the environment and engaging the room with some nice balance and layered channels.

Height: N/A

Low-Frequency Extension: Shotgun blasts, handgun fire, explosions, car crashes, blown tires, engines revving, and bass in the score and songs all plunge down and rumble the room with good strong subwoofer contribution.

Surround Sound Presentation: Your full viewing area is engaged and constantly at one with the environments, interior, or exterior in the film. You can hear a zombie moan once in a blue moon behind you, and the mix is fully aware of its surroundings and constant changing of camera angles in action sequences. It’s a pretty nice treat overall.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp, everpresent no matter the intensity and loudness of the action of musical number going on at the forefront.

Extras

Zombieland: Double Tap comes with the DVD version and a Movies Anywhere digital code.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Ruben Fleischer

Extended Bloopers & Outtakes (HD, 4:52) 

Deleted Scenes (HD, 12:42) 

The Doppelgangers (HD, 7:02) – This featurette has the actors who play doppelgangers of each other discussing the scenes/concept as well as a little background on the naming conventions for them. It’s basically just interviews of people describing what you clearly see on screen.

A Day With Bill Murray (HD, 3:11) – Touches on how they came upon Murray for the first one and then flosses over his part in the second one, with behind the scenes footage.

The Rides of Zombieland (HD, 4:14) – Goes over the vehicles used in the film, their design, and their purpose.

Rules For Making a Zombie Film (HD, 9:10) – Your basic studio quickie “Making of” featurette. With fluffy interviews and pretty basic insight.

Making Babylon (HD, 5:04) – A featurette revolving around the Babylon compound in the movie and bringing it to life via design and construction.

New Blood (HD, 4:51) – In this featurette, we go over the three new characters in the sequel.

Single Take Doppelganger Fight (HD, 2:18) – Appears to be the raw footage run-through of this action sequence in the film.

Zombieland Ad Council (HD, 0:32) – An ad for Ready.gov.

Summary

Zombieland: Double Tap‘s cast and creators manage to recapture their unique chemistry that made the original so enjoyable, but ultimately somewhere in the middle, it runs out of gas and fume floats to its finish. Sony’s standard Blu-ray edition gives the film a pretty top tier presentation considering there is a 4K available, and this cheaps out with 5.1 track while a DTS:X is also around. The extras are all quick and mostly fluffy. This will make a good bargain bin pick up down the road.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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