Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Film Review: Erased (aka The Expatriate) (2012)

Erased (aka The Expatriate) (Review)
United States/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...contrived to the point of being unintentionally humorous."

Former CIA agent turned technology expert Ben Logan (Aaron Eckhart) and his estranged teenage daughter Amy (Liana Liberato) are on the run after Ben is erased from the system.

Erased follows Ben and Amy as they try to find out why Ben's information was erased and why they're being targeted by expertly-trained hitmen. So, Ben fights, shoots, and runs through his pursuers, all while the pair investigates this conspiracy. That's really about it, though, as not much happens. The conspiracy details are interesting, but not fully utilized. It also sort of just ends -- it's not a terrible ending per se, but it is abrupt and underwhelming.

The biggest flaw in Erased is its lazy and contrived writing. The only way the film moves forward is by Amy's irrational actions -- whether it's screaming up a storm for a miniscule reason or ignorantly disobeying orders. There was one scene with Amy towards the end where I actually laughed. The plot contrivance is so ridiculous, I laughed. And, the story is completely reliant on Amy's stupid actions, it makes for many roll-your-eyes moments. A side note for Amy: she's also ridiculously annoying, complaining during every other scene for any reason.

With that out of the way, Erased does offer a decent conspiracy plot. Well, it feels more like a subplot since the film mostly focuses on Amy's stupidity, but I digress. It's not a phenomenal or mind-blowing conspiracy, but it was interesting enough to keep me hooked. The film doesn't skimp on the action, either. Some great close-quarter-combat, great shootouts, and thrilling chases. They do get a bit repetitive, but they're fun and redeeming for the film.

Aaron Eckhart is great -- I think he fits the super-soldier role well. Liana Liberato overacts this role; considering her decent performance in Haunt, Liberato disappoints with this over-the-top, melodramatic acting. The film looks great. The music is mostly forgettable; some of it did stick out, though, feeling out of place. Director Philipp Stölzl captures the action well, but writer Arash Amel's screenplay is too contrived -- its riddled with way too many plot contrivances.

Overall, Erased, also known as The Expatriate, is a decent film. I liked the conspiracy elements of the film, but felt the story was heavily flawed. It's contrived to the point of being unintentionally humorous. However, action fans may find the action redeemable enough for at least a rental.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood.

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