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Zombieland: Double Tap Review

October 18, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Zombieland: Double Tap
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Zombieland: Double Tap Review  

Directed By: Ruben Fleischer
Written By: Dave Callaham, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
Runtime: 99 minutes
MPAA Rating: Rated R for bloody violence, language throughout, some drug and sexual content

Jesse Eisenberg – Columbus
Woody Harrelson – Tallahassee
Emma Stone – Wichita
Abigail Breslin – Little Rock
Zoey Deutch – Madison
Rosario Dawson – Nevada
Luke Wilson – Albuquerque
Thomas Middleditch – Flagstaff
Avan Jogia – Berkeley

The 2009 movie Zombieland was a sleeper hit and a fun genre mashup of zombie horror and comedy. It didn’t necessarily break the mold, but it provided a fun diversion and a charming set of characters. Ten years later, the cast and crew have returned for the long-awaited sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap. Much like the first movie, the sequel is not a groundbreaking experience, but it will provide some laughs, splatter and decent entertainment for about an hour-and-a-half.

Set about several years after the end of the first movie, the ragtag group of survivors during the zombie apocalypse, Columbus (Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Harrelson), Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Breslin) are still making their way through the zombie-infested world. As they look for a new place to nest, they decide to bunker down in the White House. However, young Little Rock is anxious to leave the nest and spread her wings with people her own age. While Columbus and Wichita have gotten together, his awkward marriage proposal sends her screaming for the hills. After Wichita and Little Rock leave the group and set off on their own, Tallahassee is feeling the urge of his ambiguous Native American ancestry to go solo as well. However, while touring a dilapidated mall, Columbus and Tallahassee soon encounter an inexplicable survivor, the airheaded Madison (Deutch).

Soon Wichita arrives back at the White House base to stock up on supplies. Apparently, her sister Little Rock went off on her own after meeting a young hipster boy, Berkeley (Jogia). Worried about Little Rock being out on her own, when the zombie plague appears to be evolving and creating new, more dangerous brain-eaters, Tallahassee and Columbus join Wichita to find and rescue Little Rock, with Madison in tow. That is . . . after a session of Madison schtupping Columbus, which of course, is a source of tension.

Zombieland: Double Tap is not a terrible, pointless sequel, but it’s not a great one either. It’s irreverent, entertaining and energetic. It’s a violent, yet fairly light-hearted, splatterfest about a ragtag group of survivors who realize that they are better together than they are apart. Despite the backdrop of the zombie apocalypse, the film does not focus on the grim reality of the situation, in contrast to a show like The Walking Dead. Double Tap never takes itself too seriously. The story focuses on the group accepting that they are “family,” and their home is with one another. This idea is not portrayed in an obnoxious, heavy-handed way. Thanks to the polished screenwriting talents of Callaham, Reese and Wernick, the messaging is executed in a more facetious, semi-serious fashion.

Eisenberg’s acting style and brand of performance are well suited for Columbus, complete with his meta-style, fourth-wall breaking narration. Fans of the Deadpool films will appreciate his approach to the role. Harrelson is impeccably cast as Tallahassee, and he’s probably still the most entertaining part of this franchise.

Some of the humor keeps Zombieland from being far better and falls rather flat. At one point in their journey, the group encounters doppelgängers for Tallahassee and Columbus in the form of Albuquerque (Wilson) and Flagstaff (Middleditch). The joke is rather one-note and gets dragged out a bit too long. Imagine the joke in Shaun of the Dead, where Shaun’s group meets another cadre of survivors during the zombie apocalypse, who are basically their doubles, and they humorously pass by one another. Except in the case of Zombieland, this gag lasts for several scenes. Basically, the best hands and jokes were played in the first film. Other gags include a rather dated reference to The Walking Dead and characters having a conversation about a business that’s similar to Uber or Lyft, which never came to prominence due to the zombie apocalypse. Some of the jokes would be far more relevant had the sequel not waited 10 years to gestate.

The new additions to the cast are tolerable. Zoey Deutch is the ditzy Madison, who plays the California stereotypical valley girl. She’s not too frustratingly annoying, but her character comes off like a relic that belongs in the 1990s. There are some surprising twists with her character, that while surprising, do not make a whole lot of sense. Rosario Dawson is the much more appealing survivor, Nevada, whom the group meets while they are searching for Little Rock in an Elvis Presley-themed hotel.

Based off his work in both Zombieland films, Ruben Fleischer’s directing style looks like it would excellently suitable for a future Deadpool sequel. While the franchises do share the same writers, it’s quite remarkable how Deadpool took quite a few visual cues from the original 2009 film, which are more evident in the narrative devices that are repeated for Double Tap, such as the gore-filled opening credit sequence.

Overall, Zombieland: Double Tap is an entertaining, comedic zombie romp featuring some likable characters and creative zombie-mashing mayhem. It’s a decent diversion and followup to the original.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Zombieland: Double Tap is a fairly entertaining sequel, but it's not quite as fresh and fun as the original. This plays like a sequel that probably should have come out two or three years after the first film, rather than 10. There are some action set pieces, it's decently paced and the story never takes itself too seriously. Some of the jokes are rather dated and a little flat. Fans of the original will enjoy the sequel, but it's not an all-time classic zombie comedy, such as Shaun of the Dead.