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An ex-CIA agent and his estranged daughter are forced on the run when his employers erase all records of his existence, and mark them both for termination as part of a wide-reaching international conspiracy.
For more about Erased and the Erased Blu-ray release, see Erased Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on July 16, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Olga Kurylenko, Liana Liberato, Garrick Hagon, Neil Napier, Alexander Fehling
Director: Philipp Stölzl
» See full cast & crew
Erased Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, July 16, 2013
It's just business.
Americans in a foreign land? Check. A man who must reconnect with his "action hero" past so he may fight and run and rethink everything he once thought he knew to survive while unraveling a deep, dark mystery? Check. A potential female kidnapping victim? Check. Snarly bad guys with corporate, government, and shady alphabet soup organization backing? Check. Mystery, intrigue, danger, and daring? Check, check, check, and check, or at least "check" times four if those rather stale elements still count. Erased, also known as The Expatriate, tackles its genre like it invented it, or at least like its filmmakers have watched the Jason Bourne movies more than a few times. Erased is a reliable, but ultimately unimaginative, genre procedural in which the hero runs around, engages in firefights, and discovers the truth behind why he's suddenly on the run and engaging in those firefights. It's an entertaining vehicle for basic cinema Action satisfaction, and it builds the typically complex but not too distant or indecipherable story to go along with it. The film works best in its early goings but falls too much into routine after awhile, but it will please audiences in search of escapism that's not fully mindless but still familiar.
Ben Logan (Aaron Eckhart) is a hard-working security system analyst who's living and working in Belgium with his estranged daughter Amy (Liana Liberato). They've become so distant, and the generational gap between them has grown so wide, that he barely knows how to speak to her about her grades and forgets that she's allergic to peanuts. When he feeds her a snack that sickens her, it's off to the hospital they go. When she's cleared to leave, the two stop by his workplace to find it completely abandoned, any and all signs of it having ever existed gone. Worse, it seems his identity has been erased; nobody claims to know him, there's no record of his employment, and even more alarming, all of his ex-co-workers are turning up dead. With daughter Amy at his side, Ben is forced to go on the run and dig into an old CIA skill set to stay alive and figure out why he's been targeted for termination.
There's not a single thing in Erased that feels the least bit original, from the shaky father-daughter relationship (think Live Free or Die Hard's father-daughter slugfests meshed with True Lies' "secret super agent, so secret even his wife doesn't know" plot) to the aforementioned Bourne-inspired setting, action, and rhythm. There's also a heavy dose of Taken in the film once Aaron Eckhart's daughter transitions from whiny baggage to captive. The film elicits a sense of déjà vu throughout, and when it offers a glimmer of free thinking it still circles back to basic genre convention. It's as if the film was made to be some genre compilation piece. The end result is a movie that fails to best its contemporaries and inspirations. Erased serves only to remind audiences of better films rather than really fall into it. It's not a fatal flaw, but it makes for a forgettable movie, even considering that it's superficially fun and well made.
Indeed, it's all built with enough polish and enthusiasm, not enough to hide its recycled plot elements and basic shortcomings but enough to at least set them aside in favor of a rather robustly crafted picture. Technically, the film never falters. Director Philipp Stölzl (North Face) maintains a positive energy and only near the end does the picture really falter, stutter, fail to keep up its rather consistent higher-end pacing that makes the first half-to-three-quarters of the movie at the very least fun in a very basic sort of way. The movie captures that Action/Espionage essence with satisfyingly produced chases, shootouts, and explosions, some of which prove rather stylish and invigorating, sometimes honest and real rather than Hollywood hyped and overblown. Aaron Eckhart doesn't really fit the "man of action" characterization, but he carries the part well enough, working more on the inner character content and allowing the outward action to flow as well he can support it, and only when necessary. He's at least believably intense and protective of his daughter, probably more key than any other basic element in the film. Liana Liberato, who impressed a good deal in Trust, does the best she can with a rather one dimensional character that offers limited opportunity to expand beyond core character basics, whether in intimate moments with her father or on the run and dodging bullets.
Erased Blu-ray, Video Quality
Erased's high definition transfer doesn't come up significantly lacking in any area. This is a very nicely defined image, photographed in HD video but capturing a look closer to organic film and less like flat digital. It's very sharp and robust, producing well defined textures in every frame. Facial details are very nicely revealed, right down to the finest facial pore or, later in the film, the biggest blotch of blood. European cityscapes and intimate street-level details also benefit from the transfer's robust detailing. Colors are well balanced and bright. Black levels are deep with only minimal evidence of crush. Flesh tones do show a slight push towards a reddish shade. There's sporadic and light noise, too, but no major instances of blockiness or banding. This is a good, well-built transfer from Anchor Bay.
Erased Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Erased delivers the typically robust Action DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Film's start reveals the potency and balance of gunfire. It erupts with positive authority and stage presence, not to mention appreciable realism and clarity. Gunfire continues to dazzle throughout, notably in a well crafted parking garage shootout scene in chapter eleven in which the music cuts out and the shots power through the stage, accentuated many times over by the reverberations created by the shot combined with the confined space. The scene transports the listener to the location with almost frightening authenticity. Crashes, crunches, and explosions also deliver high energy and tight, determined bass. Musical delivery is clear and nicely spaced. Light ambience -- from clanking silverware to distant wailing police sirens -- nicely fill in the gaps and help shape a big, natural environment within the film. Center-focused and crisply delivered dialogue rounds a high quality presentation into form.
Erased Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Erased contains only one supplement. 'Erased:' Behind the Scenes (SD, 4:56) features cast and crew talking up the story, the emotions that build throughout the film, characters, Aaron Eckhart's preparations for the role, the qualities of the actors, and the film's visual style and structure.
Erased Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Erased won't be remembered as the most original picture of the past few years. It recalls far too many plot elements, styles, and character dynamics from other, better films. Nevertheless, it's a solid time-killer, a picture that's very well crafted and impresses enough within its bubble to make it worth a watch on a lazy day. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of Erased features strong video and audio. Unfortunately, supplements are limited to a single featurette. Worth a buy at a rock-bottom price and recommended as a high value weekend rental.
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Erased Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Erased Blu-ray - May 21, 2013
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment and RADiUS-TWC will release on Blu-ray director Philipp Stölzl's action thriller Erased a.k.a The Expatriate (2012), starring Aaron Eckhart, Liana Liberato, and Olga Kurylenko. The release will be available for purchase online and ...
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