REVIEW: ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ is a Nostalgic Return to Z-Land

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Zombieland: Double Tap

Welcome back to Zombieland. It’s been 10 years since we left the zombie killing found family of Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). With Day Zero catapulting society into the apocalypse, the four main characters came together and found each other. Now, in Zombieland: Double Tap, they’ve moved to the American heartland and have to face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors, and of course, Little Rock becoming a full ledge young woman.

The best part of Zombieland: Double Tap is the familial relationship between the characters. Tallahassee has grown into a father figure for Little Rock while Columbus and Wichita are continuing their romance. It’s the relationship and chemistry between them all that makes both the comedy and the action between them work. The characters themselves and their ability to effortlessly riff off of each other are strong in their own ways, even when the story is weak.

When I showed up to the film, I expected two things: gratuitous zombie violence and dark comedy, even if it’s off-color at times. While we have seamlessly moved through a world that has grown media-wise, the whole of Zombieland remains an echo of 2009 movie while still managing to be meta enough to understand when some jokes push the boundaries – which is to be expected from the writers of the Deadpool films. The humor is updated enough as to not remain a remnant of the past while some things are held onto to accentuate the tropes that are embodied by the characters.

 Zombieland: Double Tap

This is nowhere truer than with the newest addition to Zombieland: Madison (Zoey Deutch). A stereotypical dumb blonde, Madison delivers a lot of heart and even more humor as she moves from the butt of the joke to in on it. While others have at least forgotten pieces of the old world, Madison is still an image of Paris Hilton after surviving in a mall in her pink valore jumpsuit, Von Dutch top, and “so-hot” attitude. Her bubbly and friendly persona works to balance and upset the normal group dynamic in a good way although the love triangle between her, Columbus and Wichita seem a bit overplayed.

Rosario Dawson’s addition to the cast breaks up the humor that while updated some, is predictable. She’s the mirror image of Tallahassee and just as aggressive and capable. Her attitude and humor are a good addition to the cast but her ability to weld a revolver is why she’s one of my favorites even with little screen time. Dawson, as Nevada, fits in naturally, given the first time I saw her in a film was Clerks II. I’m not surprised.

Zombieland: Double Tap

But beyond the two additions, Harlson’s absurd and irreverent Tallahassee brings the most laughs, whether it’s in his choice of weapons, his newly found father-figure vibe, or his really bad jokes. Truth is, whether we’re laughing with Tallahassee or at him, it all works. Yes, down to Columbus calling out his off-color jokes to the audience. That said, while it isn’t pigeon-holed by 2009, there is enough there for fans of the first film to feel a hit of nostalgia. As a sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap fulfills existing fans’ needs. That said, it may not with new viewers coming into the franchise for the first time given the use of jokes pulled from the first film. This works for fans like me, but I could see it not working with others.

Beyond the characters and the humor, the gore and violence are absurd, fun, and dialed up from the first film. Over the years that we’ve been away from the zombies, they’ve evolved into different kinds, the dumb, the smart, and the deadly, names Homers, Hawkings, and Ninjas respectively. This zombie variety works to change the flows of fights while also making an interesting “name that zombie game.” Additionally, the zombies are killed in so many ways that it adds comedy in and of itself while also keeping the gore fresh and fun.

Overall, Zombieland: Double Tap is perfect for fans of the original, especially in keeping its focus squarely on original characters but the film isn’t perfect overall and it’s hard to say it will pull in new fans. Truly, this zombie comedy works to bring laughs and violence for a truly fun theater experience.

Zombieland: Double Tap hits theaters nationwide on October 18, 2019.

Zombieland: Double Tap 
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

Overall, Zombieland: Double Tap is perfect for fans of the original, especially in keeping its focus squarely on original characters but the film isn’t perfect overall and it’s hard to say it will pull in new fans. Truly, this zombie comedy works to bring laughs and violence for a truly fun theater experience.

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