Review: ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’

Zombieland: Double Tap one-sheet poster

Zombieland: Double Tap | Ruben Fleischer | October 18, 2019

When Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland was released 10 years ago in 2009, The Walking Dead wasn’t on TV yet, The Social Network hadn’t rocketed Jesse Eisenberg into the leading spotlight, and Emma Stone was best known as the love interest from Superbad. A lot has changed for them since then – even Woody Harrelson found a bit of a newfound career surge thanks to True Detective and Abigail Breslin is now a grown-up. The fact that their respective careers have taken them in different directions since Zombieland‘s premiere made many skeptical that the rumored sequel would ever see the light of day.

Zombieland: Double Tap still - Little Rock, Wichita, Tallahassee, and Columbus with torches

But here we are in 2019 and the ever-appropriately titled Zombieland: Double Tap is a real breathing thing that has everyone reprising their original roles. We return to this world ten years after the events of the first film where Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), and younger sister Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) are living in the White House. After so much time surviving out in the open during the zombie apocalypse, they have become expert killers and are able to classify different types of zombies based on their quick-thinking – or lack thereof – explained during a humorous sequence early on.

Zombieland: Double Tap still - Madison, Wichita, Columbus, and Tallahassee walking

They try to hold on to some semblance of normalcy, acting as a surrogate family of sorts, with Columbus and Wichita continuing to keep their love going, and Tallahassee acting as a father figure to Little Rock. Columbus and Wichita are struggling to keep the spark going, so he decides to try and take things – naturally – to the next level by proposing with the Hope Diamond. She panics and takes off with Little Rock, leaving only a note for the boys to find in the morning. To keep busy, the boys go to a local mall and happen to run into Madison (Zoey Deutch), a ditzy girl who somehow survived this long by living in a Pinkberry freezer. She’s a perfect rebound for Columbus … until Wichita returns in a panic as Little Rock proceeded to run away with a hippie named Berkeley (Avan Jogia). The gang sets out to find Little Rock before she is possibly eaten by a new super-intelligent breed of zombies.

Zombieland: Double Tap still - Tallahassee and Nevada at a bar

Zombieland: Double Tap doesn’t explore all that much new territory. It’s more of a light hang-out with these characters, with plenty of familiar references and some twists on modern times that differ compared to when the first came out (a not so subtle dig at Trump comes early on). Directed by the returning Ruben Fleischer (Venom) and co-written by returning Deadpool, Deadpool 2, and Life duo Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick with Godzilla‘s Dave Callaham, Double Tap is a fun dip back into this well, mainly thanks to the natural chemistry shared between its four leads and the welcome emergence of new characters, such as Madison, played to perfection by Zoey Deutch. She completely steals the show here, playing a ditzy “dumb blonde” to utter perfection with every line delivery more hilarious than the last. There are some welcome supporting turns from Rosario Dawson as Nevada, a potential love interest for Tallahassee, as well as some even funnier bit roles from the likes of Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch as Albuquerque and Flagstaff, two characters who strangely mirror Tallahassee and Columbus.

Zombieland: Double Tap still - Columbus, Wichita, and Madison on the roadside

Running at just under 100 minutes, Zombieland: Double Tap knows exactly what it is and more or less delivers upon that promise. It has enough laughs and nostalgic moments to make it worth seeing for die-hard fans of the first and is still a light entertaining zombie romp that can be enjoyed even if you have never seen the first one. It never comes close to the charms of the first but for a sequel that comes a decade later, this can be considered a success.

Rating: 7.0/10