Note: This is a spoiler-free Zombieland Double Tap movie review
It’s been 10 years since the first Zombieland movie, and boy have things changed off-screen. We may feel closer to the apocalypse than ever in the real world, but this band of zombie killers is happy to bring us right back to Zombieland circa 2009.
Zombieland Double Tap follows the rules and provides a double dose of what you love about the original.
A Joy For The Zombieland Zealot
The first, main, and possibly only thing you need to know about Zombieland Double Tap is this. If you enjoyed the first adventure 10 years ago, you’ll enjoy this one.
Double Tap gives you exactly what you expect from a Zombieland movie. There is plenty of crude humor, gory zombie killings, and a fun approach to the world apocalypse.
There are also plenty of callbacks to the first movie within Double Tap. Here are a few:
- Columbus’ rules for survival are of course back. Double Tap has a bit of a rules refresher, while also presenting some new rules as the zombie world has evolved.
- Remember Zombie Kill of the Week? Of course you do. There is plenty of that, but taken up a notch because just earning ZKOTW honors isn’t good enough anymore
- Remember the one-liners and memorable moments that made Zombieland a cult classic? Plenty of those have made a return in Double Tap and scratch that itch. This is the best way to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same — even in a zombie apocalypse. And what I mean by that is Tallahassee is still saying “Nut up or shut up” in 2019.
Everyone involved with the movie deserves credit. Zombieland is a movie that knows how popular it was and knows it’ll stay popular doing the same thing. They didn’t overthink anything.
Another thing that works for Double Tap is it’s very self-aware, much like the first Zombieland. They’re able to take that up a notch, due to the fact there’s a 10-year-gap sized elephant in the room that can be addressed.
Right off the bat, the movie makes fun of itself a few times for taking so long to make. Everything takes place 10 years later and time has lapsed in real-time, but it’s also been an apocalypse for 10 years so essentially 2010-2019 as we know it doesn’t exist. That allows for a few irony jokes, including a realization about how far fetched a wildly-successful business idea truly is.
The Killer Cast
One of the main reasons it took so long to take us back to Zombieland is the fact the entire cast got so damn famous after the first one. That adds a possible dynamic between the movie’s stars that didn’t exist the first time around. Lucky for us, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Emma Stone share the screen as if they’ve been stuck together for the last decade.
Make no mistake about it. Woody is still the star of Zombieland. He’s the perfect character for the zombie apocalypse and hasn’t done anything except take it up a notch in Double Tap.
Additionally, new characters inject new life into this version. Recycled themes and jokes are great when they work so well the first time around, but the same movie would just be lazy. A couple of new city characters are welcome and necessary for Double Tap.
Among the newbies, Madison sticks out both figuratively and literally. She is polarizing for moviegoers as a traditional airhead, but a good performance is turned in by Zoey Deutch. She is the perfect stereotypical character for a movie stuck stereotypically in 2009.
There is also a high-quality bit with Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch in minor roles. Neither is on screen for very long, but both take full advantage of their time.
A Story That Needs More Vitality
For all that’s good about Double Tap, it still just doesn’t have the zip of the first Zombieland. That can almost be expected, as there’s too much anticipation with a movie containing such big stars taking 10 years to make. Still, there are lulls in the movie and dead spots when the audience should be laughing.
Also, the story is disjointed at times and struggles to keep momentum. While three of our zombie killers stick together for a majority of the movie, one branches off and makes their own story. That works very little, if at all, for the movie and only makes you yearn for all of them hanging out killing zombies.
Should I See Zombieland Double Tap?
The answer to this question directly depends on your fandom of the first Zombieland. If you like what you saw 10 years ago, you’ll love seeing more of the same in 2019.
As a standalone movie, it has flaws and is inferior to the first. So if you’re only picking one go with the original. Or if you don’t like the original this is a skip.
(Featured Image courtesy of EPK)