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A decade ago, this Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick was fairly hot
stuff but I wonder if it would have the impact today since special
effects are so much better and we've seen so many of these type of
action stories in the past 10 years.
One of Arnold's keys to his successful career in films was simply that his movies were entertaining, and that's why people come to the theaters. High-brow critics often forget that. "Eraser" is a prime example. Entertainment alone is how this particular movie survives since common logic doesn't exist while violence and profanity are overdone. But, despite it's low-brow tastes and stupidity, it's still generally fun to watch if you can put your brain on hold for two hours. It's also fun to hear if you have a nice surround system.
This movie has one of the most outrageous action scenes I've ever seen on film, even to this day: one in which Arnold hangs from the outside of a jet airplane, finally lets go, free-falls to catch his parachute that had been ripped off, and then has to worry about the jet plane which had circled around and was going to smash him!!
The audio came into play nicely each time the super rifle that was featured in the movie was shot. Vanessa Williams plays the female lead satisfactorily and James Caan is very effective as the villain. Robert Pastorelli and James Coburn also add to the fun. A few laughs along the way help this no-brainer to become even more entertaining.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For the most part, I'm a Schwarzenegger fan, although I may never forgive
him for his role in BATMAN AND ROBIN. ERASER is one of my favorites of his
movies. I think it ranks right up there with the TERMINATOR movies and TRUE
LIES. The plot, I think, is better in this movie than in most of
Schwarzenegger's movies, and of course the action does not
Dr. Lee Cullen, (Vanessa Williams) a dedicated worker for the Cyrez Corporation, learns that there is a conspiracy going on within her business. Guns that were supposed to have been being made for the military are finding themselves in the hands of terrorists. Lee does an undercover job for the FBI and barely escapes alive. U.S. Marshal John Kruger (Arnold Schwarzenegger) of the Witness Protection Program is assigned to protect Lee. Kruger will "erase" Lee's identity to keep her safe. But when he finds out that his mentor and teacher Robert Deguerin (James Caan) is also in on the conspiracy, both Lee and Kruger are in danger.
Much credit goes out to the main actors of this movie. Arnold Schwarzeneger does a fine job, although this character is the same type of character her normally plays. James Kaan is excellent in this film, as is the beautiful Vanessa Williams did an excellent job. Robert Pastorelli also does a great job playing the comic relief of this movie.
The plot is very good and it usually keeps the views interested and on the edge of his seat. There are also some great special effects that are used for the weapons in this movie. It's another great case of Arnold kicking some enemy *** and saving the day, as well as the girl. Check it out!
Eraser is a film typical of its genre. What genre, you ask? Why, the
one-man-against-the-world-so-shoot-em-up, blow-em-up, and
save-the-girl-and-the-day" genre, of course. Too complicated for you?
Don't worry, because the movie isn't. As a matter of fact, it's readily
accessible to anyone over the age of 7 - not that this movie is
age-appropriate for everyone over the age of 7 (Note: This was my
favorite movie when I was 10) - but rather that the concepts, and thus
the plot, are simple. This isn't a movie you go see if you're seeking a
two hour thinking experience.
Casting Schwarzenegger for the lead instantly gives the main character, John Kruger, a personality of his own. Though nothing is ever known of his background (even by the end credits), that doesn't matter. Dialogue is used mainly for two purposes: to explain the unfolding saga of the federal scandal in the movie, and for the ever-composed and ever-cool Schwarzenegger to calm Dr. Lee Cullen (Vanessa Williams), a key witness in the scandal saga. Instead, what drives the movie is the action sequences and Schwarzenegger's resourcefulness in a myriad of combat situations where he always finds himself outmanned, outgunned, and beaten to the first punch, yet always manages to gain the upper hand.
Williams does an excellent job, and in many ways, is forced to be more of an "actor," per se, than Schwarzenegger. She has to display a wide array of emotions, from sadness, to fear, to regret, to resolve, and even anger, while Schwarzenegger is only called on to mainly display the final two. James Caan is legitimately a scumbag in his role as Robert DeGuerin, and James Coburn, in a smaller role, is fatherly to Kruger as Chief Beller. Solid, unspectacular performances all around...save that of Caan, who borders on something more.
The action in this movie is incredible for its time. The rail guns are visually impressive if not scientifically plausible (but who cares about that anyway?), and Schwarzenegger's combat ingenuity gives flavor and style to the action sequences. Director Russell seems to show a bizarre fixation with bloody puncture wounds (objects protruding entirely through the skin) throughout, but does show some creativity of his own in placing Schwarzenegger in clever combat situations where he can use his mind to outsmart his many more-heavily-armed enemies. Russell also plays with the moviegoer in several situations, making it unclear whether or not Kruger is alive after several close calls. This keeps moviegoers on the edge of their seats for the nonstop thrill ride that rarely pauses to take a breath. From the first scene to the last, explosions, shooting, and violence are the norm, and it is not meant to be any other way.
Chuck Russel's Eraser is exploding and intense action film starring Arnold
Scwarzenegger as secret government officer, who "erases" people i.e.
destroys their past in order to save their future. He gets to erase an
important witness (Vanessa Williams) who knows about her company's illegal
activities as it sells guns to foreigners. The film is full of action and
mayhem, which is great since hardboiled action films are not made too often
in Hollywood anymore.
There are hardly any stops throughout the movie and the viewer should not be bored, at least I wasn't now that I watched the movie for the second time. It looks fantastic in its original widescreen format, and this is definitely among Arnold's more noteworthy performances and proves the talent of director Chuck (Scorpion King, Elm Street 3) Russell.
There are many effects that look pretty realistic and the crocodile shoot out is one memorable scene, and maybe that is the screenwriters' comment on zoos' that don't feed their animals sufficiently as the crocodiles are VERY hungry and fierce for food! Also, there is one over the top airplane scene, that really grabs an attention. The actors are great throughout the film and James Caan doesn't make an exception. The finale is perhaps little too familiar and relies on gun fights and explosions, but still, as a whole, I found this film very pleasant experience in its own genre. It is not the greatest action film ever made in Hollywood, but it is one of the most interesting US action films of the 90's.
As one of the later Arnold movies and a suspicious title, there are initially serious worries about how good this film will be. Fortunately it turned out to be a great movie in the end. The only nitpick would be those obviously fake CGI crocodiles used in one scene but otherwise, the movie has consistency in quality. This movie also introduced the famous rail gun which became an instant hit when videogames copied it. The rail gun in the movie itself is more like a super fast rocket launcher than a sniping weapon. The story itself, surrounds the marketing of that weapon. The acting is very good as is the screenplay and cinematography. This film isn't anything new, isn't a groundbreaker in any way but is still highly enjoyable.
After Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1997 heart surgery, his box office
popularity faded. 1996's "Kindergarten Cop" is a comedy, and he did not
play the lead role in "Batman and Robin," even though his name grabbed
him top billing. That makes "Eraser" his last great action film until
"Terminator 3" became his last hurrah, for now anyway. Schwarzenegger
plays John Kruger, "The Eraser." He puts the protection in the Witness
I cannot imagine a better beginning. Two thugs have invaded the home of a Federal witness (Robert Pastorelli). His wife writhes on the floor as the duo prepare to burn the house. Hearing gagged screams of a visibly bound woman having gasoline poured on her is not a pleasant experience for most people, nor is the sight of an innocent man about to have his tongue removed. The sounds and images ramp up audience hate towards the two, then greatly increases the euphoria when Kruger comes in and kills them in a most unpleasant fashion. His timely rough justice spurs us to root even for him even harder later on, even if the effect is on a subconscious level.
His next assignment is Lee Cullen (Vanessa Williams) who works Cyrez, a weapons manufacturer. Company President William Donahue (the always dependable James Cromwell) is selling high tech weapons on the open market, weapons that are supposed to be for the United States only. As Kruger points out, the men who recruit Cullen fail to inform her that she will need to be placed under Witness Protection. She refuses the program and returns home. An encounter with hi-tech hit men forces her to reconsider, and Kruger places her in a secret location and gives her a new identity.
The new weapon is the rail gun. It uses magnetic fields to propel aluminum rounds close to the speed of light. Of course, that means it can shoot through walls, and its scope can see through them, though not in great detail. There is a side shot of one being fired later, and the rounds are obviously not moving as quickly as advertised. They leave a visible trail, but it takes two of three frames for them to move the length of the shot, when it should be all the way through in one, but I don't care. The graphic looks cool and such a small detail is hardly a deal breaker.
Any list of the positives must start with Vanessa Williams. Cullen is hardly a part with Oscar caliber demands, but Williams plays her about as perfectly as possible. She is firm and disdainful when speaking to Donahue, then firm and surprised during her later meeting with FBI agents. She is often required to act fearfully, and in a state of controlled panic. Selling those emotions is not easy. I have acting experience, I should know. The former Miss America is more known as a singer than an actress, but her performance here illustrates why she received a musical theater scholarship to Syracuse. The aftermath of the first attack on her provides her best moment.
Similar praise goes to James Caan, playing Kruger's mentor. Caan is also a talented actor. The same can also be said of James Coburn as the Witness Protection agency's highest officer. Both had spent over thirty years in movie acting by 1996, and there abilities are evident in how well they convey their authority. There are too many action films with weak acting, but people like Williams, Caan, Coburn and Pastorelli ensure that "Eraser" is the opposite. Melora Walters provides arguably the best acting in her small but animated part as the Pastorelli character's wife.
The action, of course, must be well done, and for the most part it lives up to the Schwarzenegger standards. The opening scene is set up so well it does not have to be good, but it is, and the precedent is set. The action is not Arnold's best, but still more than adequate. I was disappointed at how little the rail gun is used, and I probably would have voted an eight if it made more appearances. When it does come, the action is not disappointing. Watching Arnold wield them brought a big smile to my face. Their lack of screen time a detriment, but with good acting and clever plot, there are still more than enough qualities to earn a full recommendation for yet another good effort from Mr. Schwarzenegger.
the story goes as follows Lee Cullen a worker for Cyrez Corporation which develops top secret weapons stumbles upon illegal arms deals and acquires the information and barley escapes with help from the F.B.I and is then placed under the protection of U.S Marshell John Kruger who erases the past of witnesses under Witness Protection to give them a future Lee however has been targeted by terrorists to cover up the scam and John Kruger is being targeted by some of his fellow US Marshells and is framed for murder now he has to protect Lee prove his innocence and exposes the illegal arms deal before it happens. I give Eraser seven out of ten because its one of Arnolds best movies of the late 1990's just see it for yourself to believe it.
This is the kind of film that Arnie should stick to. He plays the Eraser to perfection, having just the right amount of over the top macho humour to balance with the all action heroics. If you like Arnie and you like action films, then you'll love Eraser.
When this movie came out, it had been two years since Arnold had been on the big screen. Well, it was worth the wait as ERASER was a great action/thriller. Really cool special effects, a great plot. Arnold shows he is still the top star of action movies.
John Kruger, a.k.a. "The Eraser" (The big man himself, Arnold
Schwarzenegger) is a ferocious U.S. Federal Marshal working as a member
the Witness Protection Agency. His latest assignment is to protect the
beautiful and astute Dr. Lee Cullen (Miss America's Vanessa Williams). For
Miss Cullen is an employee working for a powerful engineering company
specializing in high technological products for the future. This company
responsible for manufacturing powerful laser guns with destructive
capabilities and mechanisms which allow these weapons to produce maximum
damage. The original intent of these delicate weapons is for military
purposes. What Miss Cullen does not know is that there is a conspiracy
on from within the company... Lately, Cullen has evinced an illegal, black
market trading and selling of these top secret, laser ray weapons to rogue
foreign terrorists... Cullen's life is in jeopardy...she has been targeted
for murder...and only John Kruger can save and protect her from imminent
threats...by "erasing" Cullen's old identity and implanting a new one...
Robert Deguerin (James Caan), Kruger's superior, has to make sure that everything in this operation is running smoothly and that Kruger does a decent job keeping his eye on Cullen. However, even with the guaranteed safekeeping of her own life by Kruger, Cullen must learn to defend herself from the clutches of her ruthless employer and hitherto unknown criminal mastermind organizing the whole deal alongside with renegade extremists... As well, Cullen learns to trust no one for the government itself may be embroiled in this entire catastrophe...
What predictably follows throughout ERASER is a melange of excessive firepower, brutal fist-fighting, shoot-outs performed with celerity, tons of violent carnage, massive explosions, and nonstop excitement. Yes, ERASER is a definite high testosterone thriller with state of the art effects and a wonderful sense of humor thanks to Arnold's crafty one-liners.
As a chef who owes a "debt of gratitude" to "The Eraser," Robert Pastorelli ( Striking Distance, TV's Murphy Brown ) shines with some spotlight stealing moments also.
ERASER is fun-filled and exhilarating, with a pace that moves lightning fast. However, a paucity of character development or originality in the film's cliché story-line bring this movie down a notch or so. The scantiness of actual substance is sadly common in ERASER. The premise is wonderful, but the product could have been better. The director, cast, and production crew should have been slightly more ambitious with this film's mold...
That having been said, ERASER is a fine treat for male audiences. There's plenty of action, energy, and blood with a fair amount of thrills. Interesting adventure sequences include Arnold parachuting from a burning passenger jet and Arnold again attempting to fight against a myriad of man-eating crocodiles bare-fisted. (Though instead, he had to resort to conventional firearms as weapons.) By the end, when the battle is every man for himself, Arnold's methods of nailing and eliminating the enemy with their own medicine is pure poetic justice!
Some outrageous stunts and special effects, plus the presence of Herculean Arnold Schwarzenegger boost ERASER above complete imbecility. Still, the failure to convey any character depth or meaning into a simplistic plot may classify ERASER as an "escapist" film, but also a "mindless" action film as well. Never once, do the characters convince the audience the gravity of the situation. The performers never persuade the audience to think about the consequences of their actions. Is ERASER a thought-provoking film? Yeah right! ERASER is a standard, "kill or be killed" thriller, nothing more.
Considering Arnold's earlier blockbuster achievements which actually included three dimensional characters such as TOTAL RECALL (1990), TERMINATOR 2, JUDGMENT DAY, (1991) and TRUE LIES (1994), this film is somewhat rudimentary in characterization. For many people though, this quality may not exactly be a setback.
ERASER is a film that is always fun to sit back, watch, and enjoy the action! If you expect anything profound from this movie...try again. ERASER is a cool, better than expected action film with great special effects, two appealing leads, and a package full of car explosions and other assortments of surprises and tricks. Sure, ERASER may not be a "classic" action film, but entertaining, it definitely is. A better plot though, can prove to be very conducive for a film of this caliber...
RATING: **1/2 out of ****.
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