As expected, Zombieland 2: Double Tap makes a lot of funny pop culture references, but in Terminator’s case, they made a noticeable error. While Zombieland 2 didn’t exactly burn up the box office, reviews weren’t bad, and many fans of the first film found themselves just as entertained by the sequel. Director Ruben Fleischer, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin seem to have slipped the Zombieland world back on like a glove, even though an entire decade passed between movies.
One concept that Zombieland 2 introduced to the franchise is new types of zombies. Whereas the walking dead all operated the same in the first film, the ensuing decade caused a sort of zombie evolution. Four types are named over the course of the sequel. “Homer” zombies are slow-moving dimwits named after Homer Simpson. Ninja zombies are fast-moving zombies capable of performing surprise attacks. Hawkings, named after science icon Stephen Hawking, are smarter than the others, and can learn how to complete tasks to get at their prey. The newest type are dubbed T-800’s, in tribute to the murderous cybernetic organism Arnold Schwarzenegger plays in most of the Terminator movies.
T-800 zombies are named pretty accurately, as like Arnold’s killer machine, they’re relentless foes who are extremely hard to kill. The problem is that what first seems like a cool reference is dampened a bit by a really obvious mistake concerning Terminator history, which one assumes a clearly big Terminator fan like Zombieland 2’s Columbus wouldn’t get wrong.
At one point in Zombieland 2, Columbus (Eisenberg) and his short-lived counterpart Flagstaff (Thomas Middleditch) correct Wichita (Stone) when she refers to a group of zombies as T-700s, as she isn’t sure if they qualify as T-800s. Columbus and Flagstaff insist that there were no T-700s, and that T-800s were the first Terminator model. While they were the first to appear in a Terminator film, T-800s are not in fact the first Terminator model.
Sorry Columbus, the T-800 was proceeded in Skynet’s signature “infiltrator” line of Terminators by the T-600. This model was mentioned briefly in the first Terminator film by Kyle Reese, who tells Sarah Connor that the 600 model was easily spotted by the human resistance due to its rubber skin, a flaw of course solved by the almost visually indistinguishable from humans T-800. The T-600 model made its first onscreen appearance in FOX’s Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV show, and also appeared on the big screen in Terminator: Salvation, which hit theaters the same year as the first Zombieland. Even more glaringly, there was indeed a T-700 model, the direct precursor to the T-800, also seen in Terminator: Salvation. When it comes to Terminator movies, Zombieland 2 needs to study up or shut up.