- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2020

The continuation of one of the premiere undead apocalypse comedies arrived to a lukewarm response in theaters but now looks for fresh victims to impress in the home theater 4K ultra-high definition debut of Zombieland: Double Tap (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Rated R, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 99 minutes, $45.99)

Despite the film offering the same level of humor and entertainment as the original, creators poorly chose to release the sequel a decade later. Did they possibly expect movie fans, notorious for short attention spans, to deliver box office magic?

Just reference the debacle of the latest, and one of the better, Terminator films “Dark Fate” that laid a box office egg partially due to irrelevance and any remaining fans’ indifference.

So that’s a disappointing reality for director Ruben Fleischer as he delivers another familiar and fun film continuing the exploits of tough guy Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), trusted nerdy partner Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), attachment phobic tough girl Wichita (Emma Stone) and her rebellious younger sister Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) as they survive against some evolved ghouls looking to eat them.

Ten years later and now living in a secure White House, the quartet tries to live normal lives, but the restless females run off yet again only to find Wichita quickly returning and needing help with a missing sister problem.

The group eventually discovers something far more grotesque than hordes of decomposing reanimated humans when they find Little Rock. She’s in a compound named Babylon filled with, hold your breath, a modern generation of oblivious, pot-smoking retro-hippy pacifists.

Performances shine throughout the too-short film with newcomers Zoey Deutch as Columbus’ new blond bimbo girlfriend Madison, Rosario Dawson as Nevada (the proprietor of the Hound Dog Hotel) and Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch as doppelgangers of Tallahassee and Columbus, all delivering a steady stream of laughs amid the zombie slaughtering.

And, a certain Ghostbuster makes yet another appearance in the franchise in a zombie battle almost worth the price of admission.

Unfortunately, with viewers finally hitting undead burnout and the movie’s egregious delay, the Zombieland universe fueled by its sequel may not have enough fan fresh brains to survive. However, I’m looking forward to the next sequel in 2030, snicker.

4K in action: Ultra-high definition home theater owners will not appreciate this disc version for simply being an upscale of the 2K source material, but it still has its moments of clarity and color saturation.

Specifically, anyone who wants to admire the fine composition and decomposition involved in watching the eradication of zombies won’t be disappointed.

Take a boot crush to the head of a ghoul, now crushed like a spewing, rotted cantaloupe; or a slow-motion bullet shot going through the eye and then mouth and brain of multiple zombies simultaneously with rotting blood spraying everywhere; or the simplicity of a walking, headless body spurting bloody goo like a Caesars Palace fountain.

Yes, the glorious gory detail brought to 2160p life will cause the squeamish to urp, but its mighty great looking for connoisseurs of the genre.

Best extras: The 4K as well as Blu-ray offers the always welcomed director optional commentary track.

Mr. Fleischer quickly apologizes for his monotonous voice but dives in deeply and nonstop to the film’s origins and production. Details include using a Phantom high-speed camera, which shoots a thousand frames per second, to create a super slow-motion, opening credits scene of a typical zombie battle.

He, a self-professed lover of optional film commentaries, does drone a bit, but fans will appreciate his narrative that touches on topics such as locations; sets of the Oval Office and Lincoln bedroom; digital effects (even specific to each vendor); the Zombie Kill of the Year joke; cast improv and camaraderie; “The Walking Dead” comic book; the impressive stunt work; and the exact replicas of Elvis’ jumpsuits that were used.

The director talks all the way through to the end of the credits praising Mr. Harrelson’s version of “Burning Love” and reminding listeners how much he appreciated all of his crew’s hard work.

Viewers move to the Blu-ray disc to get seven featurettes (about 30 minutes in total) covering the doppelgangers; other new characters; cool vehicles (i.e. the presidential limo converted into the Beast and monster truck Big Fat Death); the hippie tower, a key fight scene; and the overall look at the production from the cast and crew’s perspective.

Best of those segments is a quick look at a day on the set with the real Bill Murray.

The disc also offers 12 minutes of deleted scenes and, as almost always the case, an unfunny gag reel.

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