Montreal Film Journal


Schwarzenegger plays John Kruger, a secret service agent who's in charge of erasing people's identity. If a witness in a Mob trial is in danger, Kruger makes sure they won't get to the people by feigning their deaths and giving them new lives. As the film begins, Kruger has to take care of a very high profile client (played by gorgeous Vanessa Williams). An employee of a weapons manufacturer, she found out her bosses created highly lethal rail guns and plan to sell them to Middle East terrorists or something. Kruger will have to hide her from them, but he'll also discover that this affair runs much deeper than this and that a man he trusts (James Caan, very enjoyable as the villain) might be involved in this conspiracy...

OK, this movie's plot isn't extremely clever or original, but what I care about is that it's fast and furious, and that director Chuck Russell knows how to craft a kick ass action scene. Highlights include the extremely well edited and grabbing opening, a raid on a suburban house in which we see these insane rail guns for the first time (they fire light-speed aluminum projectiles), a beautifully photographed shoot-out at a cabin in the woods, a real cool confrontation in an hospital, an over the top face-off in a zoo, a showdown on the docks... But my favorite moment is definitively the scene in the plane, which is one of the single finest action scenes I've ever seen. I adore how Schwarzenegger has three guns pointed at him, and he's still being a smartass. And how about when he throws out a parachute and jumps after to catch it!

What I love about "Eraser" is that it's mindless thrills from start to end. The characters aren't complex and the story doesn't break anything, but the dialogue is witty and the movie is far from taking itself seriously. Schwarzenegger is at the top of his form. I'm not sure what it is exactly about him that makes me react stronger than any other movie star. Is it the impressive musculature, the square jaw, the menacing stare, the thick accent? Or is it how when someone screws with him, he just smiles and then breaks the guy's face? All I know is that the man fills the silver screen like few others, and it's almost impossible to take your eyes of him. Behind all the violence and machismo, there's real charm, an enthusiasm in what he does that makes it all even more fun. Anyway, that's why I really liked Eraser. It's one of Arnie's most enjoyable rides.