Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors, and the growing pains of the snarky makeshift family.
Columbus once again explains the milieu and the characters’ daily existence with wall-to-wall narration, often spelling out to us what we can obviously surmise or see for ourselves. His rules for survival pop up in text on screen—cardio, never trust bathrooms, enjoy the little things in life, etc.—but the device quickly grows tiresome. So do his frequent reminders that he knows we’re watching him and his friends in a movie, with jokes about putting down your Milk Duds or experiencing “Zombieland Double Tap” in 4DX.
All these usually appealing actors are stuck in a plot that’s episodic and doesn’t gain much momentum. It’s essentially a road trip with one big battle after another, featuring zombies that have evolved and become harder to kill. Pop culture references and self-referential riffs dot the landscape. Relationships are tested. Eventually, it ends.
Along those lines, though, make sure to stay in your seat during the closing credits: In revisiting elements from the original “Zombieland,” Fleischer and Co. at least had the good sense to bring back the best one of all.