Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin are father and daughter in “Maggie.” (Lionsgate)

Arnold Schwarzenegger built his acting career around blowing stuff up and nailing hammy one-liners. To that end, the notion of him starring in a zombie apocalypse movie conjures up some pretty thrilling images. Alas, whatever movie might be playing in your head (perhaps one where Arnie mows down legions of the undead with a military-grade turret mounted atop an armored truck with a half-smoked cigar hanging from his mouth) is still better than Maggie.

The first few minutes of Maggie cleverly establishes via a mattering of disembodied news reports (because those’ve never been done before) that a clearly made-up virus has broken out across the country and is slowly transforming those infected into decaying cannibals. Abigail Breslin’s Maggie is one of those unfortunate souls and Wade (Schwarzenegger) is her father, a lifelong farmer who’d rather kill a friendly cop just doing his job than turn his necrotizing teenage daughter over to quarantine.

Director Henry Hobson has an ambitious, zombie-lite vision for his film. He wants to tell a personal, character-driven story about a daughter living her last days alongside her father, step-mom (Joely Richardson), and closest friends, all of them well aware that the end is near for the young lady. The aspiration is admirable and Hobson fittingly constructs a consistent, meditative air of gloom.

Unfortunately, the narrative often wanders from the beaten country path and into the indiscernible wilderness (both figuratively and literally) with little explanation as to why. In one short scene Wade sets a nearby field ablaze seemingly just so he can watch it burn. Another time he drives over to his neighbor Bonnie’s (Rachel Whitman Groves) house (even though it’d already been established that the two live close enough to walk) to investigate the room where she kept her zombified husband and son. It’s a touching moment but one that admittedly had me puzzled as to Wade’s motivation.

It should also be noted that, despite the draw of her aging co-star, it’s Breslin who carries Maggie. Schwarzenegger is still an actor of limited range. The behind the scenes artists have done a nice job making him appear haggard and beaten down, but it’s still up to Schwarzenegger to sell me on his character’s emotional journey and here Mr. Universe just isn’t up to the task.

🎃🎃 (out of 4)

Director: Henry Hobson

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson, Rachel Whitman Groves

Rated: PG-13

Year: 2015

What did you all get a chance to check out Maggie? What did you think? Was it your cup of tea or would you rather see Arnie take on zombies in good, ole fashioned Arnie style? Hit me up in the comments below, I wanna hear from you!



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