Summer of Schwarzenegger - "Eraser" (1996)

Remember Vanessa Williams? What's she been up to lately? Like, it seems like she was everywhere in the 90's, and now, she's just... not around. I mean, I assume she does stuff, right? She's a pretty good actress, and I guess she's an okay singer. Some people say she is. I've never heard her sing. Or maybe I have. I'm not sure.

Anyway, here's a movie she was in.

Eraser's actually kind of a cool little film, I won't lie. It's not a masterpiece of cinema or anything like that, but for what it is, it's entertaining. And what is it? Well, it's a political espionage thriller crashed into an action movie by way of a love story. Sounds like it has a lot going on, and in a way, it sort of does. This was a movie that came out when "Arnold movies" were starting to go into their death throes. Big-budget action movies about a man and his lifelong affairs with witty one-liners were fading into obscurity, and the stars of those movies were left to flounder.

Most did just that: flounder. For example, Sylvester Stallone's career took a serious nose dive until the mid-to-late 2000's, when he finally started making good movies again, like Rocky Balboa and the 2008 Rambo, not to mention those awesome Expendables flicks. A lot guys faced a similar fate, career-wise, after the 80's and early 90's. But Arnold? He just kept on kicking. The times changed, and so did he. Which is why we saw him in all those comedies. Why he wound up in Batman & Robin. Why End of Days is a real movie that happened.

Point is, more than any other star, Arnold knew how to adapt. In the 90's, political espionage thrillers and family comedies were all the rage, so he wound up in a bunch of those. And so we have Eraser, which is partially a thriller, but also a slam-bang action movie that has enough explosions to keep stuff interesting. The plot revolves around Vanessa Williams running afoul of a weapons manufacturer by gaining access to hi-tech weapon schematics, putting her life put in jeopardy. In comes an "eraser," played by Arnold, to help her fake her death and keep her safe. But because this is a movie, it's not that simple, and the both of them have to team up to take down a bunch of people who want Williams dead. Cue chase sequences, shootouts, so on, so forth.

It's a simple enough premise, but there are enough twists and turns along the way to keep things interesting throughout the film. What's most impressive, I think, is the nice balance between dunderheaded action and sophisticated thriller. While it's not the best at either of those things, not by a long shot, the attempt at blending both is pretty unusual, and I definitely had a good time seeing how the creators achieved a nice balance. They even managed to slip in some fun one-liners for old time's sake.

That's Eraser, in a nutshell. It's a pretty serviceable little movie that isn't vital but also isn't a total waste of time. If you want to see Arnold try a different sort of movie for him, then it's definitely worth a watch. And if you want to be reminded that Vanessa Williams is a real person that I assume is still alive and I assume does things, then, well, there you go.

Okay, so, looking it up, Vanessa Williams totally still does stuff. She still acts in a lot of things, and actually, seems to be involved with the fashion industry a good bit. Oh, and she still sings. She didn't disappear off the face of the planet, and I was totally wrong. Incidentally, here's one of her songs.

Like, shit, that's pretty good, right? I'm totally downloading this shit later. Pretty toasty jam. And apparently, she's a multiple Grammy nominee! I can see why. She's pretty great. How I'd never heard this stuff, I have no idea. First time for everything I guess.

Anyway. Eraser. It's a pretty good movie. Check it out. Or not.

Next Time: How the Arnold stole Christmas in Jingle All The Way. God, that was cheesy. I'm sorry.


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