Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Written by: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick & Dave Callaham
Rating: R (for bloody violence, language throughout, some drug and sexual content)
Runtime: Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Zoey Deutch and Rosario Dawson
Release date: October 18, 2019
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Action/Adventure
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Right off the bat the odds were stacked against Zombieland: Double Tap, the much delayed sequel to the 2009 cult comedy hit Zombieland. For starters, Hollywood has at best a spotty track record when it comes to delivering on long-awaited follow-ups to cherished comedy classics. Zoolander 2, Dumb and Dumber To, Super Troopers 2, Caddyshack 2, Bad Santa 2, Blues Brothers 2000, and Son of the Mask are just a few examples of the years-long wait ultimately not being worth the while.
Then there’s over-saturation. Back in 2009, the undead pop culture phenomenon was just hitting its zenith. In the decade since, however, the dead have devoured every imaginable form of entertainment, including television, film, video games and comics. We’ve been relentlessly ravaged by zombies, wasted by walkers, bombarded by biters, consumed by clickers, gotten by ghouls, and imbibed by the infected. We’ve watched in horror as some of our favorite fictional characters succumbed to a fatal bite, injected with an unknown substance during an ethically questionable experiment and/or ingested the unfortunate cordycep spore. How then does Double Tap fare in the purified face of the competition? Pretty well, actually.
Walking out of the theater I was left with the resounding impression that if you enjoyed the first Zombieland, then you’ll have a good time with Double Tap. It essentially offers more of the same sight gags and gross out humor while managing to push each character forward just enough.
Back in 2009, Woody Harrelson was the premiere star of Zombieland. Sure, Abagail Breslin had already been nominated for an Academy Award at age eleven, but most moviegoers hadn’t seen Little Miss Sunshine (and too few still have). Flash forward ten years and the poster for Double Tap reads like a very convincing Oscar ballot. Jesse Eisenberg, the curly haired kid whose name you couldn’t quite put your finger on ten years ago, has since earned a Best Actor nod for his work in 2011’s The Social Network and Emma Stone, a rising star even all those years ago, of course took home the Best Actress statue in 2017 for La La Land. The combined eight Academy Award nominations between them speaks to the sheer talent on display here and once again it’s a joy to behold.
Much like its predecessor, Double Tap is a road trip movie. As such, it unfolds as a series of highly entertaining pit stops that don’t ever feel like they’re building to one specific event. It makes sense, too. Zombieland was initially conceived as a television show and that structure is still there. Not to say the film suffers because of it. It doesn’t. Every minute of screen time spent with Tallahassee (Harrelson), Columbus (Eisenberg), Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Breslin) as they venture across the titular post-apocalyptic wasteland is a pure delight, whether they’re working through a stumbling horde of flesh-eating foes or working on more relatable familial woes.
As expected there are a handful of new faces joining the cast this time out. Thomas Middleditch and Luke Wilson are perfectly cast and economically utilized as a pair of uncanny doppelgängers to Tallahassee and Columbus. Rosario Dawson makes a welcomed appearance, though she isn’t given much to do. Zoey Deutch on the other hand steals the show as Madison, a ditzy blonde who’s miraculously managed to survive a decade into the zombie apocalypse by taking up refuge in a mall freezer. It’s a familiar shtick and one that on paper should get old fast; however, Deutch imbues her with an a-dork-able charm that’s damn near impossible to resist. Bravo.
⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 (out of five)
Those are my thoughts on Zombieland: Double Tap! Have you had a chance to check it out? If so, what did you think? Do you concur with my assessment? Sound off in the comments below and let me know! I want to hear from you!