Blu-ray Review: Maggie

By , Contributor
Arnold Schwarzenegger gets serious. In a zombie movie. That's Maggie in a nutshell and it doesn't quite work. For one, director Henry Hobson (working from a screenplay by John Scott III) decided to sidestep the usual zombie tropes. By turning the standard "walking dead" scenario into a fairly standard-issue "disease outbreak" story, Hobson removes all horror, suspense, and thriller elements. The film played theatrically in very limited release. Rather than a buried gem ready to be discovered on home video (it’s now available on Blu-ray and DVD from Lionsgate), Maggie is a curiosity that will likely only attract the hardest of hardcore Arnold fans.

In the midst of a growing viral epidemic that is transforming people into zombies, Wade Vogel (Schwarzenegger) is fighting for any hope that his infected daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin) might overcome the terminal illness. Doctors advise him to prepare emotionally for his daughter's inevitable passing, advising him on the available options. He can take her to quarantine, where she will wait out her final days as the slow-acting disease takes hold. Or he can administer the drug given in quarantine himself, which would give Maggie time to die at home. There's no good outcome possible, but Wade is nonetheless in deep denial in regards to his daughter's fate.

The lack of action scenes wouldn't be so bad if these characters had anything of interest to share with one another. Maggie spends time with her father, mother (Joely Richardson), and younger siblings. There's every opportunity for Wade and Maggie to let us glimpse their souls. But we never get deep enough inside these characters' minds. The "plot" slowly unspools as a 90-minute waiting game, never offering any insight or surprise. As for Schwarzenegger's dramatic chops, he's fine but unremarkable in the role. But he's played plenty of characters who, in between action scenes, were "normal people." In Maggie, Schwarzenegger doesn't really do anything we haven't seen before. The movie simply doesn't have any room for him to perform his usual heroics so what we see instead is rather dull.

Lionsgate’s Blu-ray offers a fine high definition presentation of this low-budget production. The audio is offered as a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. There’s a decent array of interesting extras, including director’s commentary, a deleted scene, and a surprisingly substantial series of five cast and crew interviews (they total about an hour, with Schwarzenegger’s segment running 20 minutes). There’s also an 18-minute “making of” featurette.

Fans of Schwarzenegger or Abigail Breslin will certainly not want to pass on Maggie. In general though, there’s not enough going on to make the film recommendable.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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