October 16, 2019 Zombieland: Double Tap (Movie Review)
Ten years is a long time to wait for a sequel. When the original Zombieland shambled onto the scene in 2009, the film became an instant cult classic. Now, ten years have passed and the found-family audiences grew to love are back with Zombieland: Double Tap, set to debut in theaters nationwide October 18th thanks to Sony Pictures Releasing.
Just in time for the Halloween season, Director Ruben Fleischer (Gangster Squad 2013, Venom 2018) returns alongside Wichita (Emma Stone: Easy A 201, La La Land 2016), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson: Cheers series, Natural Born Killers 1994), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg: The Social Network 2010, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 2016), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin: Signs 2002, Little Miss Sunshine 2006) for a new tale packed with gruesome kills, wisecracks, romance, and even a few new friends in this hilarious follow-up.
The zombie apocalypse is still in full swing ten years down the line, but things are still looking pretty good for the four core zombie hunters. Thanks to Columbus’ litany of rules for surviving the end times, these four have kept their little family alive and even made themselves a cozy home in the White House. Fans might remember the blossoming romance between Columbus and Wichita and the father-daughter dynamic forming between Tallahassee and Little Rock, and at the start of Zombieland: Double Tap, not a whole lot has changed.
Wichita is having some commitment issues and Little Rock is growing restless without anyone her own age to connect with, but every family has problems, right? When Wichita and Little Rock unexpectedly slip away one night, Columbus and Tallahassee cope by doing a little shopping. Enter Madison (Zoey Deutch: Before I Fall 2017, Set It Up 2018), a pink-loving blonde stereotype who survived these long years by sealing herself away in a Pinkberry freezer and provides some much-needed shaking up of the family dynamics.
When Wichita returns to the White House to tell the group that Little Rock has run off with a hippie pacifist from Berkeley (Avan Jogia: Tut 2015, Shaft 2019), they hop in their comically uncool minivan—with Madison in tow—and head south to Graceland to find her with the knowledge that there are new and improved zombie evolution out there. You can more or less guess what happens next. All that in mind, the overall plot of Zombieland: Double Tap is pretty light, but when held up by a cast of Oscar winners and nominees, a script that might otherwise fall flat is elevated to a new level by outstanding performances and perfect comedic timing.
Though ten years have passed both in and out the film, it hardly feels as though any time has gone by at all, save for the fact that Breslin is no longer a plucky pre-teen. The core four are still up to the same antics, but thanks to the introduction of some new characters, their routine is not given the chance to become stale. The film truly picks up at Graceland, where our regulars are introduced to the Elvis-loving, badass Nevada (Rosario Dawson: Rent 2005, Eagle Eye 2008), and all-too-familiar duo Flagstaff (Thomas Middleditch: Silicon Valley series, Final Girls 2015) and Albuquerque (Luke Wilson: Old School 2003, Idiocracy 2006), who provide some of the best scenes in the film.
That said, writers Dave Callaham, Rhett Reese, and Paul Wernick often do their female characters a disservice by making them little more than male love interests who can also shoot stuff. If it were not for the stellar performances of Deutch, Dawson, Stone, and Breslin, these characters would certainly feel tiresome. The character of Madison is particularly tropey: as a pink-loving, over-packing, dumb blonde with a Valley Girl accent is a character audiences have seen countless times. Considering the Zombieland films are known for turning a genre on its head, there was an expectation that the same could hopefully be said of Madison’s character. Unfortunately, that payoff never comes.
Still, Zombieland: Double Tap excels at what Zombieland does best: awesome zombie-slaying sequences, wisecracking comedy, and a killer good time. Is this film a worthy sequel worth the ten year wait? Definitely. If you are a fan of the original, be sure to head to the theater to check out Zombieland: Double Tap on the big screen. Plus, if you are patient enough to wait out the end credits, you will be in for a special treat that in itself is worth the price of admission. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Zombieland: Double Tap 4 out of 5 stars.