John Krueger (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is an eraser who helps fake the deaths of people who need to be forgotten, or something. When he’s charged with protecting (not erasing) Lee Cullen (Vanessa Williams), he uncovers a lazer-gun smuggling conspiracy.
Written as a comedy but directed as a straight action thriller Eraser suffers from a tonal mismatch usually reserved for Arnie’s collaborations with Ivan Reitman. And this isn’t the only flaw it’s impossible to erase. Arnie and Williams have the chemistry of two pieces of stationery and the tone doesn’t play to Arnie’s strengths resulting in a terrible performance as the armed rubber. It’s also a showcase of 90s computer software – making the film look much more dated than it needs to.
It has a plot which barely makes an echo of sense and the absurd Predator-style superweapons sit awkwardly with how straight it’s played. It’s like if Dirty Harry was armed with Worf’s Purple Space Bazooka. But it also has plenty of quotable Arnie lines and funny moments, which are mostly unintentional. For a film about stationary it keeps moving, with some breathtaking action sequences including one in which Schwarzenegger jumps out of a plane without a parachute. And a scene involving escaped crocodiles is the kind of wacky excess we crave from Arnie, two decades before Crawl.
As such it’s surprisingly enjoyable, delivering a fun and exciting film full of action if not coherence, and managing to be entertaining, even if this is largely by accident.