It’s hard to believe that a decade has flown by since Zombieland first opened in cinemas. This cult classic is one of the best zombie movies of all time, right up there with Shaun of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead. You may be apprehensive going into this sequel since follow-ups tend to have a hard time living up to their predecessors but Zombieland: Double Tap provides fun for all who have seen the first movie, playing heavily into the fan service while still making it fresh and entertaining.
10 years after the events of the first movie, our story still follows our favourite gang of zombie killers, the wild renegade Tallahassee (Woody Harelson), cautious nerd Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), femme fatale Wichita (Emma Stone) and the not-so-little girl Little Rock (Abigal Breslin).
While wandering the zombie-infested roads, the team makes their way to the White House to figure out if they could turn the most iconic house in America into a home. Now that Little Rock is becoming an adult, the father-daughter relationship between her and Tallahassee is starting to get a little…rocky. She takes off on a journey to claim her independence and freedom.
The storyline for this sequel, much like its predecessor, is simple with a clear narrative. The whole premise of the film is that the team (especially Columbus) are all battling with ideas of commitment and settling. While each character deals with those themes in their own way, the cohesion and understanding amongst the main characters clearly establish those unconventional familial ties that are indicative of their time together, surviving the zombie apocalypse.
The entire movie seems to rehash a lot of the jokes, lines and events from its predecessor so you should definitely watch Zombieland once more before watching Zombieland: Double Tap. There is a little bit of fan service in every scene and although that might seem irritating, director Ruben Fleischer manages to balance the old with the new, making the humour in the movie familiar but not dated.
A subtle way that proves this is the updated character design. If you take a look at the two posters, the creative team took special care in making the second poster almost identical to the first with the only difference being the characters and how they’re dressed.
Tallahassee being the oldest and least likely to change anything about his look, still retains his cowboy aesthetic. Wichita also still dons her iconic leather jacket but now grown up, she’s gotten rid of that dark eyeshadow and instead has a more natural look (or maybe Zombieland has just run out of make-up). Columbus hardly changes but it is clear that he’s less of a college nerd and now more rugged, swapping his hoodie for a parka. Lastly, Little Rock has obviously undergone the biggest transformation, wearing age-appropriate clothes for a teenager but opting for more masculine clothes.
Viewers can expect the same demeanour from all four of the protagonists, and Harelson, Eisenberg, Stone and Breslin all do a fantastic job with their aged up roles, especially Eisenberg and Breslin. Columbus has newfound confidence in this film that can easily be chalked up to being in a stable relationship for a decade as well as a lot of practice with killing zombies. No longer will he be stumbling with his car keys.
Breslin does a great job of battling the complexities of being a teenager on the cusp of adulthood. Since all she’s ever known is her family, Little Rock has a need to fit in with people her age. Breslin does a superb job of portraying the awkwardness of attempting to make new friends while staying true to her own beliefs and rough upbringing.
While the first movie revolves around our four familiar weirdos, there are new cast members thrown into the mix this time around to liven things up. With an amazing lineup including Rosario Dawson, Thomas Middleditch, Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia and Luke Wilson, the variety of new (and not-so-new) characters, breathe new life into the franchise.
Wilson and Middleditch play doppelgangers for Tallahassee and Columbus respectively. Although Thomas Middleditch is perfect for the awkward, scrawny dork, we just wished that Michael Cera would play opposite Eisenberg.
Every character was over-the-top and a stereotype of their own but none played their role better than Deutch. Deutch plays the classic blonde bimbo named Madison and her perfect portrayal really makes this character one of the highlights of the entire movie. Her comedic timing and mannerisms are wildly exaggerated that you can’t help but hate her but at the same time, she never fails to make the audience laugh out loud.
It’s not just the characters that are exaggerated, the entire film plays up the theatrics of the film to an insane level. Zombie Kill of the Week gets bumped up to Zombie Kill of the Year and the antics are so farfetched, it’s sure to garner a laugh. The action in this film is crazy and fans can expect to see the satisfying gore and slow-motion sequences of all good zombie movies.
The zombies, along with everything else in the film has also been updated. Now they have evolved into various categories of zombies namely, Homer, Hawking, Ninja and T-800 (how apt for the current Terminator film). Although the first three are simply mentioned in the movie with at most two scenes indicating their existence, the T-800s are the key focus of this movie and provides the movie with that frightening near-death scene present also in the first movie at Pacific Playland.
Although the film sounds bonkers with their overly dramatic characters and incidents, the essence of the film is relatively simple. It is a story about an unorthodox family and there is really no need to look at this film as some sort of political statement. Filmmakers always want to throw in a moral and political lesson somewhere in the mix but Zombieland: Double Tap is a great film for anyone that just wants to unwind with some gratifying action and comedy.
It is apparent that Zombieland: Double Tap followed the successful formula that made Zombieland a cult classic but made it even more ludicrous. Many sequels have tried to do this and failed but this one doesn’t. This could be due to Fleischer making calculated decisions, knowing when to hold back and when to go completely bananas, or perhaps it was the impeccable cast with their excellent comedic timing that really puts it over the top or even a combination of the two. Either way, Zombieland: Double Tap will leave you feeling satisfied, hitting all the points you would want to see in a Zombieland sequel while still throwing in a few new elements that make it perfect for 2019.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Zombieland: Double Tap was a blast from start to finish, with the perfect balance of action and comedy. The essence of the original film is retained but the new elements introduced breathe life into the franchise.
Story - 7/10
Direction - 9/10
Characterisation - 8/10
Geek Satisfaction - 9/10