It’s been 10 years since we last saw Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and our TV and movie screens have since become even more saturated with zombie content. It’s something which even gets acknowledged by Columbus during his opening narration to Zombieland: Double Tap as he thanks the audience for choosing this movie, now that there are “many choices in zombie entertainment.”
The opening narration also hilariously introduces us to some of the specific variations of zombies currently being encountered – the Homer, the Hawking and the Ninja – before continuing the comic book violence that we know and love from the first movie. A hugely entertaining slo-mo zombie battle on the overgrown grounds in front of The White House while the opening credits roll. But after that, the foursome setup residence in the presidential home, making good use of the space available and even celebrating Christmas there (even though it’s only November!).
Little has changed in the group dynamic, other than the fact that Little Rock is now all grown up, something which forms the basis for the main plot of the movie. Columbus and Wichita are struggling to settle into a routine as a couple, and Tallahassee serves only as an overbearing father figure to Little Rock. Tiring of this setup, and longing for friends her own age, Little Rock runs away with a peace loving boy called Berkeley, to a place called Bablyon, home to a community of pacifists where weapons are not allowed. The others, fearing for her safety, set out on a road trip to go find her.
Something about the humour of Double Tap doesn’t seem to work as well as it did in the first movie and much of the bickering and interaction between this makeshift family doesn’t feel quite as enjoyable this time around. The constant onscreen reminders of ‘the rules’ that the group live by becomes tiresome at times and it’s therefore up to a number of new characters that the guys meet along the way to try and inject something fresh into it all.
First up is Madison (Zoey Deutch), a young woman that Columbus and Tallahassee meet at a mall early on. Madison is a typical ditzy blonde cliché, forming the butt of many of the jokes, but still managing to be endearing and a lot of fun. Then there’s Nevada (Rosario Dawson), along with Tallahassee and Columbus meeting up with their doppelgängers Albuquerque (Luke Wilson) and Flagstaff (Thomas Middleditch). If you’ve seen the trailer then that manages to cover off a lot of these character meetings and interactions, along with a number of plot beats too unfortunately.
What the trailer doesn’t show you though are the hugely satisfying, big action set-pieces, which manage to come along just at the right time in order to inject some serious entertainment into the flagging dialogue. Aside from the slo-mo opening battle that I’ve already mentioned, there’s a wildly fun slapstick zombie fight in an Elvis themed motel and a finale that’s packed full of zombie carnage. Not to mention a lengthy credits scene which starts off well, and just keeps on getting better! And the introduction of a more difficult to kill strain of zombie only adds to the fun too.
Overall, Double Tap doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor. It’s a fun ride though, still boasting some of the best zombie killing action out there, but ultimately doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression.