Eraser Recap

Jamie

John Kruger is The Eraser tasked with protecting Lee Cullen from a vast conspiracy of eeevil weapons developers, arms dealers, and *gasp* maybe even his own colleagues in the witness protection agency (spoiler alert). Can he stop all the baddies before it’s too late? Find out in… Eraser.

How?! John Kruger is a witness protection agent who is all about protecting the good guys and erasing the bad guys. In this case the good guys include Lee Cullen, a whistleblower at a defense contractor who blows the whistle about an experimental rail gun that may or may not be being sold to a big time arms dealer. When she makes off with a copy of the plans all the evildoers get after her real quick. But John won’t let that happen and despite lightspeed bullets flying around is able to get Lee out of there. Erasing her identity, John helps Lee get to a safe house in NYC while he goes off to try to figure out what’s going on. Returning to WITSEC, his friend and colleague Robert tells him their witnesses have been compromised by a mole and they go off to protect them. Little does John know that Robert is in on the conspiracy (what a twist!) and he gets drugged, but not before sending an alert to Lee. Waking up on the plane as it heads into NYC, John is able to get himself and parachute and chute his way out of there. Running off to the Central Park Zoo, where he told Lee to go in case of emergency, he is able to kill a bunch of baddies and get Lee out of there. With the help of one of John’s other witnesses they infiltrate Lee’s workplace where they are able to hack the mainframe and reveal that the big gun deal is going on that night in Baltimore! Luckily they got an in at the docks and they infiltrate the deal. They take down the bad guys in a big climactic scene and bust the conspiracy! But that’s not all, they also kill the guys at the top just when it seems like they might get away with it all. Hooray. THE END.

Why?! I think how Arnold explained it was that they needed a weapon that audiences would understand is real scary. Enter the EM rail gun that totally, definitely shoots aluminum bullets the speed of light… like for sure. The bad guys want to sell it for money. John and Lee want to stop them cause it’s scary (and I get that). Thanks, Arnold.

Who?! While I’d like to make the case that this is the best portrayal of the Deputy Secretary of Defense ever put to film, I think the obvious primary note here is that Vanessa Williams was really a musician-turned-actress. Her debut album was a giant hit and she continued to make music for decades. She didn’t really make her big acting splash until the 90’s.

What?! I feel like Pepsi has been crushing it in the BMT product placements lately. This is a pretty good one too cause it kinda plays into the plot. You see, James Caan hands Arnold a water and he’s all like “oh, thanks.” Then another guy, suddenly feeling parched and liking Arnold’s water drinking moves, swoops in for a bottle of his own and Caan is like no, no, no have this refreshing Pepsi instead. And that’s how the audience knows something dastardly is afoot. More interesting than this rail gun prop, right?

Where?! We jet around a little. Most of the action takes place in Washington D.C. and nearby locations, including Virginia and Baltimore. We get a few scenes in NYC, highlighted by a romp through the zoo. Overall it’s really not bad given the high level advanced weaponry and corruption that is at the heart of the plot. Does feel like D.C. is at least somewhat vital. B+. 

When?! Sometimes you get a sense that it’s not worth pursuing the temporal setting of a film. When I saw that Arnold typed in the command for a computer to tell him when a weapons deal was going to occur and the computer responded “TODAY,” that’s a clue that I need to call it a day on figuring this film out. F… for now.

This movie is real dumbo for sure… but also kind of fine in a big dumb way. Like everything about it is pretty much the stupidest thing you could imagine. To the point where you start to think they were in on the joke. But then you watch an interview with the director and he seems pretty serious about it all. The fact that it was unironically made is incredible and kind of beautiful. The last vestiges of the 80’s crossing the finish line before things started to get a bit tongue in cheek. So thank you Eraser. You are a beautiful masterpiece that the world needs more of… no wait, I’m not finished. Arnold seriously delivers one-liner after one-liner and no one is rolling their eyes at him. I saw Jungle Cruise recently and The Rock does the same thing except everyone has to comment on how bad the lines are. No thank you, give me this pristine piece of unspoilt art. Big fan of Eraser. As for Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe? Hugely disappointed. I was really anticipating this movie but it comes off pretty cheap and while Jesse Ventura is indeed insane, it’s got a whiff of White Comanche about it. Just a one trick pony centered around a robotic, rattail wearing Jesse Ventura. Everything else is just… a cheap movie. Not even a single laser beam shot out of his eye either. Sigh. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We got Arnold! With got magic lightspeed rail guns! We got a conspiracy that goes right to the … Under Secretary of Defense? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – It is pretty stunning that I had never seen this film. With the enthusiastic review of “super dumb film” by Jamie it was time to pop some popcorn, pop in Eraser, and go on a datenight! Sorry boo, it’s my birthday and we are watching Eraser tonight! What were my expectations? The dumbest movie of all time, but outside of that Arnold being Arnold and flexing and shooting people and making me laugh.

The Good – Arnold flexed, and quipped, and was an American hero, and stopped the lightspeed guns from getting in the Bad Guys’ hands. The second film in a month where someone falls out of an airplane without a parachute and survives. Bad CGI Alligators. A conspiracy. Plausibly offensive caricatures of Italian Americans. Did I mention magic lightspeed guns … at one point I swear to god the person mentions the gun speeds up bullets to nearly the speed of light. THE SPEED OF LIGHT! I think if that were true the Earth’s atmosphere would instantly ignite when it was shot. I’m not joking. Back of the envelope, even pushing the definition of “nearly” and using a normal sized bullet the result would be a large nuclear explosion if the bullet hit the Earth. That’s a bad gun Arnold, you better stop it! Best Bit: Lightspeed guns which somehow don’t destroy all life on Earth in an instant.

The Bad – Nothing, did you read the previous paragraph? This movie is perfection. But I guess if I haaaaaaave to say something bad about the film. The CGI alligators, in addition to being rad and having major ‘tudes, look terrible, and some people might say that that is bad. And yeah, fine, the whole “let’s kidnap the damsel in distress just to make sure the good guy HAS to come and stop us for sure” is a terrible plan. And yes, the idea that the Under Secretary of Defense wants to sell magic guns which can kill instantly at range to literal terrorists … I mean, how could that possible bite the US in the ass, right? In other words, fine … this is the dumbest film of all time. But is that actually bad? Fatal Flaw: You will lose IQ points watching this film, but sacrifices must be made in the name of art.

The BMT – The film is extremely amusing, and quintessentially 90s action schlock. In that sense it is great. In another sense it definitely makes you think “they don’t make ‘em like they used to.” And in a final sense, I miss vintage Arnold, we really don’t get action stars like him and Sly anymore, pumping out ridiculous one-off hits on their personal brand. It’s great. Did it meet my expectations? Exceeded them. I think it helps that the film isn’t actually that bad. Even critically it was pretty well received. It is just exceedingly dumb. But that’s fine. I’m pretty convinced this movie would get in the 50s or 60s on Rotten Tomatoes today. People had higher standards for films back then.

Roast-radamus – Literally wall to wall Product Placement (What?) with AT&T, Pepsi, and multiple random water companies, which was really some wild stuff. Unfortunately this is practically a roadtrip film. I would have liked it to get a good DC setting, but it doesn’t really qualify in that regard. Same goes with the MacGuffin, if they had kept the guns a secret instead of busting it out early it would have worked better. I will give a Worst Twist (How?) nod for the reveal of James Caan as the bad US Marshal. BMT for sure.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – We have to do it, it’s a BMT Crossover Episode! Sasha Petrosevitch is in trouble, he might be half past dead, but he would really like to not be whole past dead after he witnesses the murder of the President of the United States by the Vice President himself! Well, here comes Anold and Vanessa to save the day! They put Sasha into witness protection … in future Alcatraz! Whoa, deja vu! But Arnold then learns that the Vice President has put out a black market full amnesty for anyone who can kill Sasha, which means it is an all out war among the death row inmates to kill Sasha first! Arnold and Vanessa need to infiltrate the island prison a la The Rock, and meanwhile Sasha needs to survive a prison riot a la Half Past Dead 2! At the end of the film they take down the president and Sasha reveals that Arnold and Vanessa are half past dead due to the exploits of Eraser, and they become the Erasers for the crew. Half Past Erased: Back to the Rock. I have to start compiling this into a set of films, because in reality once I hit around 23 I’m going to pitch it as a television series to CBS.

Bring a Friend Analysis – A pretty interesting one it would seem with Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe. It stars Jesse Ventura who is absolutely awwwwwwwwful in the film. I was shocked, because wasn’t he in other actual films like Predator? I don’t remember thinking he was especially bad in the beginning of that. But here he may have already crossed the rubicon to insanity, because his choices in this film are not the choices of a normal human being. The film is surprisingly low budget for what I had imagined prior to watching. And in the end it is a simplistic Terminator knock-off. There is really not much to it. The cameo by Belushi (who was married to the star of the film) is off the wall, he plays a principal who is very insensitive while trying to pull the mute child out of school because people are bullying him … okaaaaay. That is pretty much how we thought of things in the 90s huh? Fun Christmas film though, and slightly amusing to watch Ventura “act”. C+. Mostly it suffers by not living up to expectations. How can Jesse Ventura and Arnold’s stunt double both be so bad at acting?

You Just Got Schooled – Incredibly this film doesn’t have a television remake. Even more incredibly it does have a really really bad Full Motion Video rail shooter released in 1998 that barely works! It’s called Eraser – Turnabout, and once again I had to obtain cd iso rips from the original game. This time I had to very specifically get a Pentium MMX chip, and also (and this is important) turn off the DirectX hardware acceleration! It took me ages to figure that out. It doesn’t break the game, but it does make the images/movies flash weirdly and makes the game very unpleasant to play. Well … the game is always unpleasant to play. There are a series of different bits to the game. It starts off a little like a standard arcade shooter, but then moves into a rail shooter (more like Area 51 if you remember that game). Very much like the Virus game for the Playstation it is mindbending that anything like this would have ever been made. Who is the audience? People who can be tricked into buying it by accident? It only ever got reviewed in German magazines, so maybe it was literally just a fake tie-in to leverage the mega-stardom of Arnold in second markets … but he isn’t even in it? F. Would not recommend it on any level (unless you are trying to teach yourself about emulating old-school PCs from the late 90s).

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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