Film Scouts Reviews


by Karen Jaehne

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New York, June 17, 1996

At the press screening tonight, no press books were available that would provide all the credits to this movie, so suffice it to say -

this is an Arnold Schwarzenegger Movie - and that's all you need to know.

The plot of "Eraser" revolves around government officials selling U.S. research in defense weaponry to foreign creeps - "so tell me something I don't know," as the mobster/union boss says - but off Baltimore Harbor's Pier 57 - "now I'm beginning to hate Russians again," says the same boss. So it's the Union bosses v. Commies - and it works.

The witness protection program offers a lot of material for movies, but this one plays it as if every witness that Schwarzenegger has saved is eager to spout his entire life history to anybody in earshot whenever Arnold shows up. Secrecy of identity is not a strong element here.

Vanessa Williams - who acts as well as she looks - does her best to stay below the star-level watermark set by Schwarzenegger. She's much better than he is, but she's game. Likewise, James Caan doesn't have enough acting to do - he hams up his bad guy character. The one really interesting performance comes from the actor who's the father of Murphy Brown's kid. He's truly funny and wonderful to watch. His appearance sets the whole third act in motion and gives some pizzaz to it, since we're getting tired at that point of James Caan being drôle about being bad.

Of course, if you don't like a death toll of 4 by the first 25 minutes and close-ups of metal objects through Arnold's hand - which never impedes him in the slightest - this is not your movie. But if you like Arnold at his most heroic, you've got to see "Eraser" for the airplane sequence in which he bails out of the airplane without a parachute, jettisons himself Superman-style fast enough to catch up with the falling parachute, get it on, falls happily through the air, only to be targeted by FBI Jet #1 and wind up crash-landing in a used-car lot. It's the centerpiece. It receives applause.

Be all-American - applaud Schwarzenegger! Has any other Austrian done as much for us?

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