Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
Those things on the end of pencils
on 7 May 2012
The 2-year gap between True Lies and Eraser forced some action fans into thinking that Big Arn had retired. He had delivered at least one action movie per year since Terminator. Eraser had an awesome trailer, to the tune of Enigma's wonderful "I Love You, I'll Kill You", that rocked my world in the summer of 1996. I saw virtually every blockbuster that year, and the Eraser trailer was attached to every one of them. It came out out in the UK in the very last week of summer (and my first week back at school). I saw it at the now demolished UCI cinema in Edinburgh with a sold-out audience, mostly filled with guys out for a "lad's night". The movie was rated 18, and even though I was 3 years below that mark, I still got in, which was fortunate since the cinema version is the only uncut version of the film that has ever been released in the UK. For its VHS and DVD release the mad BBFC saw fit to cut 4 minutes from Eraser, turning it into an incomprehensible mess. It capped-off an awesome summer season (or so my 15-year-old self thought), and put to rest any fears that Big Arn was slowing down (although he has only made 5 action movies, to date, since then).
Arn is John Kruger (an amusing choice of name since director Chuck Russell also made the 3rd Nightmare on Elm Street Movie), a Witness Protection Program Agent who is tasked with 'erasing' and protecting a high-level informant who can prove that there are traitors within the US government who are selling weapons to Russian terrorists. Naturally the informant is the lovely, and wide-eyed, Vanessa Williams, who involves herself in a subdued romantic subplot with Kruger. James Caan and the always great James Coburn provide respectable support as Kruger's antagonist and mentor, but the best support is no doubt Robert Pastorelli (an actor who I really liked who died of a heroin overdose in 2004), who plays a previous witness who is eager to please Kruger in his latest, impossible quest.
Overall, it's hardly revolutionary, but what makes Eraser stand out from the crowd is the utterly breathtaking (literally) scene in which Kruger escapes a jet, mid-flight, without the comfort of a parachute on his shoulders. It's definitely one of the best action scenes in the last 20 years and, let me tell you, when that scene climaxed in the cinema, the packed audience of 'lads' totally sucked the air out of the auditorium. A massively exciting, and completely exhilarating, scene that never fails to get your heart racing.
Alan Silvestri's score is one of the film's more underrated features. Silvestri scored Big Arn's Predator, a famous score in its own right, and while Eraser is not as famous as Predator you should not rule out the integrity of the score. When separated from the movie it is still one of Silvestri's best efforts.
I guess the only complaint I could have about Eraser is that it's kinda anti-climatic. The best scene occurs at the end of the second act, leaving the final act pale in comparison. There's no iconic imagery to the film and it seems kinda forgettable when compared to other Arn characters who have endured the test of time. Nonetheless, it's at the top of the bottom of Arn's best movies, but make sure the version you watch has not been butchered by the BBFC.
The Blu Ray is in 2.40:1 1080p with Dolby TrueHD sound. Extras are non-existent.