10 Years on and we are finally met with a sequel to this Zombie cult hit; thankfully with the same cast and director to revisit what many have forgotten. Directed by Ruben Fleischer, Zombieland: Double Tap is quite honestly, the same movie as Zombieland (2009). If I had to describe the Zombieland movies in one sentence, I’d simply boil it down to a road trip comedy with zombies – this sequel is exactly that, no revelatory changes in what its trying be, but a simple narrative revisiting what has already been done. Oddly enough, this isn’t a bad thing.
Double Tap benefits greatly by holding onto its core characters – Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita, and Little Rock all return in this road-trip story. Taking hold of the aspects that made the first film a success, this sequel aims to reunite us with its original characters and bring in some new ones. Director Ruben Fleischer and the talented trio of writers stay loyal to their vision – retaining the tone of the original and producing impressive character consistency. Double Tap stays true to this, as we follow our characters across the USA encountering a colorful new set of challenges along the way. This sequel feels like a video game DLC, not a second chapter of the narrative and I’m okay with that.
While these films may not provide emotionally deep human stories, the Zombieland films are concentrated entertainment, utilizing its quirky characters to do the heavy lifting. Zombieland: Double Tap is no different, the characters remain their quirky selves much to our benefit. Columbus (Eisenberg) retains his dorky yet quick-witted quips, Waichita (Stone) stays incessantly sarcastic, and Tallahassee (Harrelson) is as oddly enthusiastic about bizarre objects and celebrities as he’s ever been. Double Tap takes the best parts of these characters and simply improves them, making them more emotional and generally balanced.
Every single actor reprises their roles with skill, displaying improvements and refinements in their characters. Emma Stone particularly shows better control with her comedic acting, while Eisenberg successfully lowers his awkward disposition to the benefit of his character. Harrelson is as loud and rowdy as always, but takes a step back from being the tough guy to act as more of a father figure. We are blessed with a fantastic performance from Zoey Deutch playing the role of a ditzy blonde valley girl – she quickly takes the spotlight in this sequel. Her inclusion to this film allows for the character interactions to remain fresh and downright hilarious.
Conflict begins when examining this film’s visuals; the CGI looks specifically low budget in certain action sequences – this CGI seems to imply this film had a conservative budget, but to my surprise it is at least double. However, the camerawork is stellar, producing tense action sequences involving one-takes and neatly arranged shots for its comedic dialogue. Somewhere along the road director Ruben Fleischer has learnt a foray of techniques to elevate action and comedy.
Double Tap provides humor, story, and just about every desirable trait that made the first Zombieland film an instant classic. Director Ruben Fleischer isn’t just following the indefinable list of rules on how to produce a good sequel, he’s writing his own as he goes and hoping for the best. Fleischer recognizes what may have aged from his previous work and applies those lessons to Double Tap. I’d be happy to a third and final installment to complete this classic franchise as a trilogy in another 10 years. Zombieland: Double Tap doubles down on humor, story, and character consistency – successfully surviving the death march to the movie sequel graveyard.