Directed by Chuck Russell
U.S. Marshal John Kruger (Arnold Schwarzenegger)– agent for the Witness Security Protection Program (WITSEC)-must protect a witness who has uncovered a plot to sell advanced weaponry overseas.
This is such an awesome action film with just a touch of science fiction based on plausible science. Arnold Schwarzenegger is at the top of his game here. There was a time in his career that Schwarzenegger was practically a superhero in everything he did. This was no different and it was not at a point where he needed to tweak the formula a little to make it go down easier with the audience. He was in peak physical condition and still youthful enough that his ludicrous onscreen superhuman antics went down easy. Kruger is ridiculously capable in this film.
The science here is that of the railgun. I know nothing about engineering so how possible this is is a little beyond me, but it is something I have heard of. A railgun is a type of weapon the military has been trying to develop for a long time but near as I know nothing much has come of it yet. And that is why this works. It is something that is on the edge of reality but not quite there yet so your mind can handle that this development has occurred, but the public just doesn’t know yet.
I praise them for creating a character in Lee Cullen (Vanessa Williams) that does not make mind bogglingly stupid choices. In fact, she does not make any stupid choices. Too often the damsel in distress in these movies makes a mistake like calling her mom or not following the directions given to her by her protector. Lee does none of that. In fact, she does everything she should and everything right. Some may argue yes but she still got captured at the end. While that is true the capture occurred in a building filled with bad guys. It works in the logic of the film.
James Caan is one of the great actors of our time and he turns in a great performance as the chief villain US Marshal Robert DeGuerin who is also Kruger’s mentor. He is not a campy or over the top maniacal villain. He is amoral and overcome by greed. His idea to try and hit Kruger with the plane was truly inspired and a villaint highlight of the film..
The late James Coburn shows up here too as WITSEC Chief Arthur Beller in what is a little more than a glorified cameo. He helps give the movie a little more weight than it otherwise would have. His character could be best described as the good version of James Caan’s DeGuerin.
If the plot had involved normal guns being shipped to some terrorist, it would not have been good. It would have been quite forgettable but the use of the railgun steps things up a few notches and helps make the gun fight scenes pop. It is a guy with standard weaponry fighting guys with ray guns. And it is just so very cool.
Eraser is what I would call a forgotten gem of Schwarzenegger’s career. It is as entertaining and adrenaline pumping as anything else he made at the time. I do not hear too many people talk about it, but it is a very good action film as well as being one of his better ones. You should find it and watch it. You will not be disappointed.