‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ movie review
By Craig Allan, Staff Writer
The first Zombieland is probably the best example of a film coming out at the right time. Debuting a year before The Walking Dead TV show, the first Zombieland capitalized on the growing fascination of zombie-based fare. Filled with highlights like a cast of mostly unknowns, a humourous take on the zombie apocalypse (contrasting all the standard bleak films), and possibly one of the best cameos of all time, Bill Murray—Zombieland was one of the freshest films to come out of 2009.
For a movie with such a rich premise, sequels seemed certain—but unlike zombies that reanimate seemingly in an instant, the sequel for Zombieland took it’s time to gestate. In that time, the unknown cast and crew went on to unprecedented success. With stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, and Emma Stone all going on to be nominated for Oscars. Stone won an Oscar for 2016’s La La Land. Even the crew behind the camera on Zombieland went on to success in the comic book movie world. Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick wrote the smash hit Deadpool, and Ruben Fleischer directed the cult classic that is Venom. Despite all this, the cast and crew were able to find time to come back to their zombie slaying roots, and after 10 years take a double tap to the franchise with the second installment, Zombieland: Double Tap.
This movie sees the crew of Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) clearing their way to the White House. They finally decide to settle down in the presidential estate after years of being out on the road. A secure place is needed as the zombies have become stronger, sneakier, and more resilient—with Columbus giving them new designations like the Homer (slow), the Ninja (fast), and the T-800 (hard to put down). When Little Rock leaves the nest and finds people her own age, Columbus, Tallahassee, and Wichita head back out on the road again out of fear for Little Rock’s safety.
The strength of the movie comes from its all-star cast who, despite seeing so much success over the last 10 years, come into Zombieland: Double Tap still bringing their all. The real surprise, however, may come from the new cast of characters that the regulars run into. Specific praise must go to Zoey Deutch as Madison. Madison, a dumb blonde character, could very easily ruin the movie if she did not play the character to the right frequency. However, Deutch plays the role with such ignorant joyful innocence that she lights up the screen in every scene. Characters Albuquerque and Flagstaff, the doppelgangers of Columbus and Tallahassee—played by Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch respectively—also added greatly to the film. Their funniest scene being when Columbus and Flagstaff compare their dueling rules and commandments lists. Rosario Dawson as Nevada and Avan Jogia as Berkeley were also an enjoyable addition. The movie ends with one of the best end credit scenes ever thanks to another legend of the franchise. Will we ever see Garfield 3: Flabby Tabby?
Ironically though, the strength of the cast may very well be a weakness. While the cast was great, stars like Stone and Breslin don’t really have a memorable moment in the movie. A consequence of such a stacked cast. As for zombie slaying, it can be noticeably absent at some points. In fact, after the opening scene, there are very little zombie killing until a set piece in the middle of the movie. The humour can also sometimes be misplaced. Tallahassee’s bloodline containing Blackfoot Native American ancestry is one somewhat cringe worthy example.
Despite this though, Zombieland: Double Tap still packs a fun cinematic punch. Everyone returning to this movie clearly cares for the franchise. Where a lot of comedy sequels fail to bring anything new or do not succeed in justifying their existence, like another long-paused sequel coming out this weekend by the name of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Zombieland: Double Tap is a satisfying return to Z-Land.