Review: Schwarzenegger vs. zombies — where's the fun?

Tom Long
The Detroit News
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"Maggie" is an odd film indeed.

First off, it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and it involves a zombie plague. So, of course, you assume The Terminator will be carrying some ridiculously large machine gun into a crazed horde of brain-eaters, blowing them into bits and pieces while smirking out heavily accented one-liners.

But that's not the case at all. In fact, there's little real violence in this film. Instead it's the story of a stubborn farmer named Wade (Schwarzenegger) watching as his terminally ill daughter Maggie (a game Abigail Breslin) tries to cope with her impending doom.

Yes, it's a fatal disease movie. The disease just happens to be zombie-itis, or whatever pseudo-scientific name it's given in the film.

We're not given much background. Zombie-itis has descended upon the Midwest. It's run rampant in big cities, less so in rural areas. Things seem somewhat under control, but somehow Maggie was bitten. It takes about four weeks to become a full-on walking dead person, so she runs off to the city to die anonymously.

But as the movie begins Wade has tracked his daughter down and brought her home to his second wife (Joely Richardson) — Maggie's mother is long dead — and their two young kids. The kids are sent off to safety and the waiting begins.

And that's basically it. Maggie spends the movie turning zombie, Wade spends the movie worrying about what he's going to do while his wife (understandably) worries about getting eaten. It's basically a character study. The problem, aside from not much going on, is that Schwarzenegger remains a severely limited actor, so there's not that much character to study. Potentially interesting concept; wrong star.

tlong@detroitnews.com

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'Maggie'

GRADE: C

Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including bloody images, and some language

Running time: 95 minutes

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