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Movie Review

Eraser

Reviewed by: Paul T. Andersen
STAFF WRITER

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens and Adults
Genre:
Action/Adventure
Year of Release:
1996
R

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Caan, Vanessa Williams, James Coburn / Director: Chuck Russell

Indestructible Arnold Schwarzenegger continues to “take a lick’n and keeps on tick’n” in this white-knuckles thriller. “Eraser” provides exceptionally fast-paced action, but racks up an amazingly high body count in the process!

In this story, John Kruger (Schwarzenegger) is an elite Marshall in the Witness Protection Program who must provide a defense contractor employee (Vanessa Williams) from bad guys in the American government. Kruger “erases people’s past, so that they can have a future.” Featured is a high-tech electromagnetic gun with terrible destructiveness and an aiming-sight that can see through walls. The suspenseful script uses the usual Schwarzenegger-formula—a bigger-than-life defender of innocents who has a gentle hug for the maiden in distress, a man of honor who relentlessly pursues his purpose despite enormous odds and absolutely evil, but cunning, villains. There is occasional humor to break the tension. The story is a bit weak, but fast-paced with interesting creative twists. “Eraser” takes off with a high speed (but violent) bang and ends with an audience-pleasing, double-surprise climax. The stunts and effects are exceptionally good.

Having seen almost all of Schwarzenegger’s movies, I would rate this as one of his better works. However, it was a little amusing to see the film again include Schwarzenegger’s trademark shot, the battered hero emerging unstoppable from the flames of an exploding building with two big guns blazing. Overall, I think most people will find his film “True Lies” more enjoyable, due to its greater combination of humor with the thrills.

Based strictly on violence and foul language (from the bad guys), “Eraser” would earn the lowest Moral Rating (1½-stars). The violence is extensive, including numerous neck snappings, bullet-in-the-mouth suicide, stabbings, numerous deaths by bullets and projectiles—many shown piercing through bodies, animals eating people, impalements, dismemberments and breaking bones. Most of the violence is aimed at anonymous targets.

However, my Moral Rating (Very Offensive) gives the producers some credit for some things they did NOT do (untypical of this Hollywood genre). There is no sex and few sexual innuendoes. Schwarzenegger himself uses almost completely clean language. Refreshingly, Christianity is not denigrated; in fact, the only Christian-religion character in the story is treated with respect and appreciation. The dwelling-on-gore is relatively tame compared to some other films of this genre.

(Eraser’s Director is Charles Russell who did “The Mask” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street III.” The Producers are Arnold and Anne Kopelson who did “The Fugitive,” “Outbreak,” and “Seven.”)

Viewer Comments
This movie kept me on (the edge of) my seat. Although there is violence, I enjoyed the fact that there aren’t any sexual scenes and not much foul language. All in all I thought it was pretty good.
Jamie Galey, age 17
Too violent for children, but entertaining and action packed. Not as good as True Lies .
—Mike Barthel, age 40
The female lead had strong moral fiber and stood up for what was right even when she knew the danger. This is an excellent role model for our children, but the movie failed to point out that Jesus is the only source of such strength of character. I would also like to comment that for an action movie this was extremely scientifically accurate. One final complaint, Arnold should have turned the other cheek instead of fighting back…
—Joseph Busche