Eraser (1996) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Caan, Vanessa Williams, James Coburn, Robert Pastorelli, James Cromwell directed by Chuck Russell Movie Review

Eraser (1996)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Vanessa Williams and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Eraser

Schwarzenegger Rubs One Out

"Eraser" is two things, first and fore mostly it is a Schwarzenegger movie, not one of his ultimately dumb and boring comedies such as "Junior" but an action movie giving him licence to flex his muscles, blow things up, beat people to a pulp and deliver the corny dialogue that he does so well. Secondly it is another movie which attempts to combine action with technology delivering a sense of escapism through those big action sequences and semi futuristic gizmos and gadgets such as the electro-magnetic pulse gun. To be frank it's not bad, it's stereotypical 90's Schwarzenegger and as such is entertaining in a very unrealistic, over the top sort of way.

U.S. Marshal deputy John Kruger (Arnold Schwarzenegger - Terminator 2: Judgment Day) is a witness protection specialist who not only protects new witnesses but helps those whose new identities are blown. Given the task of protecting Lee Cullen (Vanessa Williams) who having gone undercover for the FBI is now in danger, Kruger not only finds himself facing some high tech weaponry but also corruption in his own agency causing him to have to take on the Marshall who taught him everything he knows.

James Caan as U.S. Marshal Robert Deguerin in Eraser

To say that the storyline to "Eraser" is original would be talking rubbish and is in fact very similar to various other movies. So what we get is some espionage, some corrupt officials and a lot of action culminating with a big final battle and what else would you expect. But it's surprisingly not a weak storyline and although far fetched, with all the techno mumbo jumbo, it is strong enough to give meaning to all the action sequences. Yes it's contrived as hell, and you have to disengage the logical side of your brain to watch but it doesn't try to over complicate things with twist upon twist, it keeps it plain and simple, we know who the good guy is, who the helpless victim is and who the bad guys are and let the action commence.

As such "Eraser" is packed full of action and you are rarely a few minutes away from either a fight scene or a chase scene be it on land or in the air. One of the best and pretty much sets the tempo for things to come is the opening scene where Kruger goes in to rescue two witnesses from being murdered and although is far fetched has a bit of a "what if" about it as he uses bodies stolen from a morgue to replace those he has rescued. It does go a bit over board with the action and the big climax is a case of too much nonsense but at the same time it is comically entertaining, remember this is a Schwarzenegger action movie so comedy and corny dialogue are part of the expected mix.

Accompanying all this action is all the high tech gizmo and gadgetry and is the sort of stuff which is just beyond realism to make it exciting. From the rather corny, highly visual computer systems used through to the magnificent electro-magnetic pulse gun it's all fantasy like and amusingly so. It's the sort of stuff which adds to the whole feeling of escapism and makes for plenty of amusing scenes. Seriously what computer system do you know which would be so visual when copying data to a disc.

Aside from Schwarzenegger who is far more at home and entertaining delivering these big action roles than he is at simple family comedies, "Eraser" does have quite a decent cast. James Caan has fun playing a bad guy, ramping him up just enough to make him slightly comical and Vanessa Williams is easy on the eye as the woman which Schwarzenegger ends up protecting. But the real scene stealer in "Eraser" is Robert Pastorelli as Johnny Casteleone a brilliantly comedic performances which works as an almost side kick for Schwarzenegger's more dead pan yet still funny John Kruger.

What this all boils down to is that "Eraser" is very much your stereotypical mid 90's Schwarzenegger action movie and as such it is far fetched and full of big explosions and outrageous action scenes but it is also entertaining. Like so many other movies it brings in some fantasy like technology to add to the mix but at its heart it's the sort of movie where you need to disengage your brain and be entertained by all the action and a certain amount of corniness.