Reviewed by: Paul T. Andersen
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.”)