I really wanted MAGGIE to be Arnold’s JCVD, that is, an art house flick that plays with everything we think we know about a foreign-born actor and the American Acton heroes he played in the ’80s. It did not let me down! MAGGIE deconstructs the expectations built up over 30 years of Governator- and zombie-film over-saturation, and subverts them at literally every turn.
If you’ve seen enough Schwarzenegger and zombie films, you’ve seen every scene setup in MAGGIE before. Thus, you’re not surprised to see tense moments with John Matrix poised to kick ass, or creepy moments where you just know Abigail Breslin (who’s been in similar surroundings before) is about to take a bite out of someone. But few things play out as expected here, and MAGGIE prepares you for this by setting up the characters properly. So yes, you have scenes of Dutch Schaefer brandishing a shotgun, because Ah-nold! But when you write his character as a man clinging desperately to what is best in life, whose former wife instilled in him a love of reading(!) and planting daisies(!!), and then have Trench Mauser play that character convincingly, then you have a Schwartzenegger zombie film where anything can happen.