A Witness Protection marshal goes on the run after he is set up by his colleagues over an international arms deal involving high-tech weapons.
Directed by Chuck Russell
Written by Tony Puryear and Walon Green
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Caan, Vanessa Williams, James Coburn, Robert Pastorelli, Nick Chinlund, James Cromwell
Oscar Nominations - Best Sound Editing
Eraser isn't really counted among the best of Arnold's 90s output, and that's probably because it's not that great. Eraser is half espionage thriller and half mindless action flick, but neither complements the other all that well. Arnold does his best, as usual, and it's always great to see James Caan in the role of a villain, but mostly Eraser just feels like wasted potential. That it, until a federal marshal teams up with the Italian mob to take on international arms dealers and Russian terrorists. That may be the most ridiculous, over the top climax I've ever seen, and goddamn does it save the movie.
Meet John Kruger (Schwarzenegger). He's a Witness Protection agent who works alone and is constantly telling everyone that he works alone. He "erases" people, which means he wipes out their old lives and sets them up with new ones. His latest job is to protect Lee Cullen (Williams), an employee of a weapons manufacturer who stumbled onto evidence that her company was selling high-tech weapons to terrorists. This conspiracy goes so deep that Kruger's mentor DeGuerin (Caan) is part of it, and he sets up Kruger as a mole in WitSec. Now, Kruger must protect Lee and prove the conspiracy. It's an unnecessarily complex plot that screams post-Gulf War 90s influence. Plus, the miniaturized rail gun was too sci-fi for what was supposed to be a fairly grounded action film.
Eraser isn't terrible, but it's a far cry from Arnold's best work when it comes to action. There's a scene where he blows an alligator's brains out and comments "You're luggage." You can feel a blend of so many ideas that weren't turned down, leading to an overstuffed plot with a lot of characters who don't have much to do beyond a few scenes. Still, I'd probably watch it again.