Release date: May 2015
Dramatis Personae: Arnold Schwarzenegger takes another shot (maybe literally?) at a big screen comeback. Joining him are Joely Richardson and talented child actress Abigail Breslin.
So, what’s he blowing up this time? Zombies. Or, as Maggie rather elegantly calls them, “necroambulists”. Although, believe it or not, there aren’t any bloody battles or cringe-inducing catchphrases delivered in the world’s most famous Austrian accent.
So what kind of story are we getting? A bizarrely humane, tender one considering the subject. Wade Vogel (Schwarzenegger) persuades doctors to let him take his infected daughter, Maggie (Breslin), home instead of letting her being quarantined. As Maggie comes closer to becoming a fully-fledged zombie, Wade tries to make her last days as happy as he can, sometimes at great emotional expense. Add Maggie’s stepmother Caroline (Richardson), who is perpetually caught between wanting to keep her own children safe and supporting the family, and you have a real tear jerker.
Yeah, but what about the shotguns and stuff…? Not here. Indeed, Arnie’s acting skills get a rare run out and he genuinely seems to be getting better with age. His role in Maggie has even had some hat tipping from critics, and it’s not hard to see why. He carries all the burden and pain of having a terminally ill child with such uncharacteristic subtlety that the audience can see it manifesting in his usually towering, macho physique.
From Conan to… conflicted? Pass the tissues.
In a nutshell: “There is life with you, not with me” *sob*