Monday, December 10, 2012

Awwww damn, did that hurt?

Eraser (1996)
I remember this as a largely forgettable vanilla action suspense movie.  Haven't seen it since the theater, although I did buy the DVD right after I got my first player back in 1998 and it's stayed unwrapped until now.  Interested to see if I missed out on the fun the first time around or if it really was that bland.

As it turns out, yes and no.  There are quite a few good set pieces here, some reasonably good action, and Arnold's quite good.  But then there's James Caan, whom I usually like very much, playing a completely ugh character in a completely predictable plot.  Predictable plots are hardly a rarity in an Arnold movie, but we usually have much more Ahnold to offset that and keep it fun.  I actually like his character in this, he's nicely noble and I applaud never establishing a romantic connection with Vanessa.  Pretty surprising actually.  I like romances as much as anyone, but we don't have to go there just because two people share a good chunk of screentime.

Aligators.  Really?  After Vanessa's been a bad-ass and shot a dude in the leg just for pretending to be Arnold's friend and after Arnold's come to her rescue and shot the hell out of the place, we have to rescue them from the zoo with CGI aligators?  I'm good with using your last bullets to blast out the glass, that would have been a good distraction even without the aligators and I could even handle an aligator taking a bite out of one of the guys, but they had to kill all of them?  While Arnold and Vanessa sit there and watch rather than just get the hell out of there?  It's not like the scene ruined the movie or anything, but it seriously broke the immersion for me and it takes a while to settle back in after that.

Arnold's quite good in this, he straddles the bad-assery with the kindness and protectiveness toward Vanessa with aplomb.  Some excellent "Aaauuuaaaggghhhh" moments in there, particularly the parachuting sequence, and some very fun action at the end.  He's still looking pretty fit and there really isn't much cheesiness in this, he plays it pretty straight up with good style.  But aside from the "Aaauuuaaaggghhhh" bits, it's not an Arnold movie that you find sinking into your brain or running around quoting to your friends afterward.

Highlight of the movie for me was the ending action sequence, but not because of the constant shit blowing up, because the guys playing the union dock workers were just incredible.  Some excellent lines with "Commie bastards!" "They're not communists anymore, Tony.  They're a federation of independent liberated states" being my favorite.  Good stuff and a clever way to toss in some support for Arnold without it getting weird. 

All in all, it's a decent suspense movie with some nice action sequences tacked in and plenty of good moments.  Unfortunately, it's still every bit as forgettable as the first time.

Ahnold Quotient - 7
I might actually put that lower if not for the ample amount of "Aaauuuuaaaggghhhh" and shit blowing up.  He's very cool and heroic, just too confined in the role to really let his inner Ahnold fly.

Rewatchability - Eh
Another one that I wouldn't refuse if it was suggested, but wouldn't go out of my way to watch.  I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys Arnold or action movies, but not as a must watch.  Don't know that I would have any need to watch it on my own again, there are simply better Arnold and better action movies to watch instead.

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