Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Eraser is a 1996 action film, directed by Chuck Russell. The main stars were Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vanessa Williams, and James Caan. It involves American-based companies selling weapons to terrorists.

The main story concerns Cyrez Corporation, a company that creates and manufactures weapons for the United States military. But one of their scientists, Dr. Lee Cullen (Williams), has discovered that their latest electronic-pulse rifle (electrical weaponry) is going to be sold to Sergei Ivanovich Petrofsky (Olek Krupa), a well-known terrorist. The firepower of the weapon on the wrong hands could upset the "balance of power." So, Lee copies the evidence to two discs. One for the FBI, one to go public. Secrecy is not among her strengths though, as her superiors soon find out her plans.

Cue John Kruger (Schwarzenegger), a very effective agent of the Federal Witness Security Protection Program (WITSEC). He has been nicknamed "Eraser" for his ability to erase any trace of the people he is protecting. Now he has to protect Lee. But there are dangers ahead. The conspiracy extents further than Cyrez itself, involving even Daniel Harper (Andy Romano), Undersecretary of Defense. Kruger has been warned by his mentor Robert Deguerin (Caan), that there is a mole within the Program, responsible for the deaths of key witnesses in top-level cases. Lee could be next.

Good advice. Too bad Deguerin is The Mole and has been hired to kill both Lee and anyone actually trying to protect her. Now Kruger must "erase" his opponents in a decidedly more lethal style.

The film was a modest box office hit at the time of release, the 14th most successful film of its year in the United States market. But it did very well in the international market and has sold well in VHS and DVD. By now its worldwide earnings are estimated to $242,295,562. Along with Jingle All the Way, also released that year, it signified Schwarzenegger's continued commercial value for film projects. However, the actor went into semi-retirement between 1997 and 1999, in order to recuperate from a back injury.

Tropes used in Eraser include:

Black kid: "Oh man, did that hurt? It had to hurt; I saw it!"
Kruger: "Where is this?"
Kid's sister: "Earth. Welcome!"

  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: James Cromwell's character was the CEO of Cyrez enterprises, which was also selling advanced weapons to Russian terrorists. As soon as he was found out by the FBI... well, his reaction ended up becoming obvious. Also, there is a Corrupt Executive Branch Official involved as well, as the Undersecretary of Defense was in on the deal with the Russians.
  • Delivery Guy Infiltration
  • Driven to Suicide: Cullen's boss finds out she's carrying a camera and working for the FBI. He takes a revolver from his desk and appears to be about to shoot her, but sticks the gun in his mouth instead and pulls the trigger.
  • Dual-Wielding: Once with handguns, but most famously with railguns.
  • Electric Torture: Johnny Casteleone invokes it on himself unintentionally when, attempting to fake a heart attack as a diversion while Kruger and Cullen infiltrate Cyrez, he removes a heart monitoring device, causing the doctors to try to defibrillate him (while he was still conscious).
  • Enemy Mine: The Mafia teams up with a Witness Protection Agent (who also faked the death of one of their former members) and the Mafia defector in question, in order to take down the villainous Russian terrorist organization - because the terrorists are using their docks to ship WMDs without their permission.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Apparently, the Mafia aren't bothered by terrorists having WMDs, but they certainly don't like it if those same people are using their docks without their knowledge, and also just so happen to be Russian terrorists.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: The limo parked on the level crossing explodes spectacularly when the train hits it.
  • Flechette Storm: The bouncing-Betty grenade fired into Cullen's house.
  • Friend or Foe: The receiver on Kruger's shotgun melts, so he throws it at the enemy. A mook picks the shotgun up to examine it and promptly gets shot by the railgun sniper thinking it's Kruger.
  • Hacked by a Pirate: Inversion: Derreguin has several scientists shut down the computers when it was becoming obvious that Arnie and Cullen were using her former boss's computer console to access the disc copy she had (long story short, she copied a second disc in case it turned out the FBI were going to sell her out), to prevent them from hacking the secrets they had. Upon the computer being hacked, a message then pops up that states "You Have Just Been Erased!"
  • He Knows Too Much
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: One of the Federal agents at the beginning is Mr Trick.
  • Hot Scientist: Dr. Lee Cullen.
  • High Altitude Battle: A parachuting Arnie with a Desert Eagle vs. a jet aircraft trying to ram him.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: The man-portable railgun, which became a fixture in the arsenal of many first-person shooters of the time following the movie.
  • Infrared X-Ray Camera: Can see through walls and even through skin!
  • I Work Alone: Kruger refuses to work with other agents in the Witness Protection program to prevent the possibility of a leak. Turns out to have been a good thing.

Kruger: "I work alone. If anyone comes to you and claims that I sent them... (hands Cullen a revolver)...use this."

  • Karma Houdini: Deguerin, declared not guilty, well, almost anyway, until Kruger set him up to get his limousine ran over by a train.
  • Kiss of Life: Brutally subverted. Deguerin shoots a woman in the chest, then pretends to give her mouth-to-mouth when his colleagues arrive to see what happened -- he's actually blocking her mouth and nose in order to finish her off.
  • Lock and Load Montage: A brief one when Kruger gears up for a federal raid. Serves as a Chekhov's Gun in that it shows the audience the belt knife Kruger uses to escape The Mole later on.

Deguerin: I can't believe you stuck me with that mail-order piece of shit!

  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "You've just been erased."
  • The Mafia
  • Magnetic Weapons: The railguns.
  • The Mole: Deguerin.
  • Neighborhood Friendly Gangsters: Maybe not ordinarily, but when someone's selling advanced firepower to the Russians, on their docks, The Mafia aren't going to take it lying down.
  • One Bullet Left: In the zoo shoutout, Kruger is down to two rounds in his Desert Eagle. He uses one to shoot a tank full of mook-eating alligators! Good thing he's got one bullet left to shoot the monster croc that comes after him... until said croc knocks the pistol out of his hands.
  • Sawn Off Shotgun: Arnie carries a cut down over-under instead of the usual side-by-side barrel shotgun.
  • Scope Snipe: One of the railgun toting bad guys gets this treatment from Sal using a Winchester Model 70, possibly making this a Lampshade Hanging.
  • Super Window Jump: Kruger and Cullen are out of bullets, so the bad guys are considerate enough to perforate the window glass just before they jump through it.
  • Truth in Television: The fake identity that Kruger gives to Johnny Casteleone after faking his death earlier in the film is a bartender of what is implied to be a gay bar, as it was the only place the Mafia wouldn't dare to look. This actually is quite true, as the Mafia has strict rules against members being homosexual, and if one of their members was indeed that, they certainly would be killed.
  • Vigilante Man: Kruger becomes like this by second half of the film.
  • Vertical Kidnapping: Kruger takes out his first mook by looping a wire around his neck as he walks out the front door, then yanking him up onto the roof.
  • Visible Laser Beams: The Infrared X-Ray Camera has this effect when Kruger sees a green light sweeping across the house.
  • Western Terrorists: Sergei Ivanovich Petrofsky is Eastern European.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him??: Subverted. Taking Cullen hostage, Deguerin tells Kruger to drop his weapon, and when he does-

Thanks. (blasts him)

  • You Fail Physics Forever: Dr. Cullen explains to Kruger that the rail guns fire projectiles "at almost the speed of light."
    • And even if the gun could fire projectiles that fast, recoil would make the gun more dangerous to the user than the target.
    • And the projectiles can easily shoot straight through solid walls, but on impacting a human body they throw the target several yards across the room.
    • And X-rays don't work this way.
    • Handwaved with the line: "They said the physics were impossible."