Our journey began with Taken. Liam Neeson’s daughter was forcibly taken from him, and he used his mad intelligence skills to reobtain her. She was actually taken twice: first by the bad guys in the beginning of the film, and then later by Liam Neeson from the bad guys. I believe Taken 2 upped the “taken” count considerably, but seeing as I still haven’t watched it, I’ll refrain from further comment.
We then moved to Stolen, where Nicolas Cage’s daughter was stolen by his ex-partner in an attempt to exact revenge and obtain a ransom. This was a turning point in the genre in that it added the concept of the daughter being the property of the father. Not only was she taken from him, but the father incurred an additional financial loss. How could the stakes possibly be raised from that?
America, we have an answer. It’s come to this. It’s come to Erased. Aaron Eckhart’s daughter is not actually physically separated from him until well into the second half of the picture, but the erasure itself breaks new ground by not only erasing the daughter, but the father as well. That’s right: they’re erased together. It’s mindblowing stuff and I don’t know how our movie overlords keep doing it. But, if you feel (to the contrary) that this movie sucks, I must point out that I am absolved from all blame here. I did not vote for this garbage. I voted for Cthulhu.
What I’m trying to say is that all of this is Obama’s fault. His loving embrace of the military-industrial complex, the intelligence apparatus, the national security state, and Jay Leno have brought America to a point where she can do nothing but stand mute while an endless parade of shitty, half-assed B-movies address the salt-of-the-earth whitebread American morons on the issue of human rights abuses on the part of Big Business and the CIA. I can’t deal with this shit. I mean, I know I say that every day, and somehow I magically manage to deal with this shit anyway. But seriously, folks: I can’t deal with this shit. I’m too bourgeois. I don’t make a living wage at my part-time employment, but I have class. In my mind.
Anyway, Obama opened the floodgates for this nonsense. W started it, of course, which makes him guilty in the only courts that matter in this country today: the NSA FISA rubberstamp courts, and the 2nd grade playground at recess. But this is all Obama’s fault. He fired one too many drone missiles at one too many suspected terrorists, and now it’s open season for every hack writer and filmmaker to bore us all to death with “important” films and shocking revelations about how money and power are more important than human life. Forget the Affordable Care Act: this is Obama’s legacy. All these Stathamless DTV masterpieces with morally ambiguous characters from the CIA, the FBI, the FSB, the Triads, the Russian Mafia, or whatever else, where we have to stop every five minutes to both lament the death of our Constitution and acknowledge the necessity of its death in order to protect us from terrorists, all while various corporate dickbags consolidate their wealth and none of the female actresses ever take their tits out. What the fuck, Barry?
But I’m not going to let movies like this get me down. It’s not like watching this movie was a waste of time or anything. In fact, I learned quite a bit while watching this film. For instance, if you call the CIA, they answer the phone with “Central Intelligence Agency, may I help you?” Not depicted onscreen is the NSA blackhat neckbeard gently masturbating to the sound of your voice while thinking of you in women’s undergarments from a 1950’s Sears catalog. The grammatical ambiguity in the previous sentence was completely intentional, by the way. Anyway, my point is that movies like this can’t break me. I’m in this for the long haul.
As Jack Burton once said, “Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it.”
Erased is the story of a man who gets erased. To be more precise, his job is erased without his consent. Yes, we’ve moved from the “immigrants are taking American jobs” angle to a story where an American living as an immigrant in Europe discovers the Old World solution to the problem: erase the job. Erase it all. Now, since the job never existed in the first place, no European worker was affected by the whole affair. The Belgians really know how to get things done.
Yes, this movie takes place primarily in Brussels. They write the location onscreen at least a half dozen times. There was one moment where they cut back to our protagonists after a scene back in Langley and write the name of the city onscreen yet again for no apparent reason. I didn’t even know they had left! Ah, Belgium. Home of Jean-Claude Van Damme, kickass waffles, and an ex-housemate who worked at Marie Callender’s, was way too old to be wearing outfits that exposed her tramp stamp, and shared the landlady’s penchant for bottom shelf whiskey. It’s also home of police officers incapable of chasing suspects across a wide open expanse of grass and highway in broad daylight. How is that even possible? What do these Europeans spend their tax money on, anyway? Health care?
Anyway, Aaron Eckhart’s character works for a company that tests various security systems for vulnerabilities. It’s a short term contract job that mysteriously disappears after completion of the task. He was recruited because he’s the smartest security vulnerabilities expert ever, yet it takes him half the movie to figure out that the job was a front for a CIA black op, even though it turns out that he spent most of his adult life working for the CIA. Maybe he should have spent more time watching shitty movies and less time protecting the country from evildoers. We all know the deal, here.
Really, though, if you risk life and limb in a twisting, labyrinth spycraft nightmare for a couple decades all under the pretense of making America a better place and come home to watch something like this, the last bit of humanity left in you will probably just finally die. Truly, a Pyrrhic victory if there ever was one. That’s why I serve my country primarily by playing Doom II megawads. I’ve successfully defended the Earth from Hell’s invasion countless times over nearly two decades, all while Obama wallows in half-measures and compromise, Biden plays Minion Rush, and Hillary stands over the toilet seat, pants unzipped, waiting for a penis that will never come. Don’t worry, Washington: I’ve got this shit handled. You’re welcome.
Things start heating up as various hitmen have come out of the woodwork in an attempt to murder our protagonist and his daughter. How do writers keep coming up with these intricate twists? For his part, Aaron Eckhart is completely shocked that the CIA is trying to kill him. Apparently, they “burned” him six months ago for some reason or another, hence his presence in Europe at the contract gig. Decades of service in the “kill squad” doing the CIA’s dirty work, and this is all the thanks he gets? I can’t believe it. It’s almost like the CIA lies to people as part of their SOP. Hey idiot, maybe you shouldn’t have signed up for the CIA kill squad if you didn’t want to be involved in ridiculous shit like this! Just a thought.
The bad guys are a corporation called the Halgate Group, who are attempting to use elements within the CIA to recover documents from a shipwreck that conclusively prove that they were selling weapons to Mozambique. No, seriously, that’s the big threat in this film: illegal weapons sales to third world countries. How hard is this to deal with? Just build an animatronic Reagan that says “mistakes were made” and you’re good. Really, who gives a shit about Mozambique? Most Americans are scratching their heads trying to figure out what country it’s in. Let’s try it again, guys.
Mixed up in all of this is Olga Kurylenko, fresh off her appearance in the pretty, pretty cool Oblivion (though apparently this movie actually came out last year overseas under the title The Expatriate. They changed the name because Americans don’t know what it means.) Olga works at the CIA, allegedly knew Aaron Eckhart’s character “intimately” at one point, and is involved in the Halgate Group’s evil scheme. Late in the film, Aaron Eckhart asks her about what happened to the wide-eyed girl he met in Somalia who was ready to light the world on fire. Personally, I would have asked her if her pussy tastes like Pepsi-Cola like Lana Del Rey’s, but whatever. It was a fascinating scene that I didn’t almost fall asleep to or anything. Olga does not take her clothes off in this movie, by the way. There, I just saved you $1 at RedBox. PayPal me.
So Aaron Eckhart goes on the run with his daughter, kills people who are trying to kill him, discerns the involvement of the CIA and the Halgate Group, a bunch of other bullshit happens, and the movie finally ends. Thank God. All of this raises the most important question: Why do I watch Aaron Eckhart movies? Why do I do this to myself? I’m not ashamed of it, really. I merely wonder why this continues to happen. I’ve probably watched The Core more times than I’ve seen Armageddon and Independence Day combined, and I’ve enjoyed it each time. What the fuck is the matter with me? (Don’t answer that.)
Seriously, though. I think I’ve only watched Armageddon twice in my life. The Core is the movie Armageddon should have been. The part towards the end where they claim that some paltry number of nuclear bombs will impart enough force to cause some non-negligible rotational acceleration of the Earth’s core has me laughing every time. Anyone remember about a decade ago when the writer of The Core wrote in to Ain’t It Cool News and attempted to defend the science in the film? Why do people still watch Armageddon in light of that? The Core features Delroy Lindo, for Christ’s sake!
What were we talking about? Oh yeah, Erased. The movie where Olga Kurylenko doesn’t take her shirt off, but Aaron Eckhart does. Why? Because when you’re making homemade explosives, you have to take your shirt off. To do otherwise would be un-American.
In the end, our protagonists survive while everyone else dies. Note that at no point did our heroes solve the initial erasure problem. They’re still erased. They’ll be erased forever. It’s an uplifting ending. Actually, the daughter’s boyfriend also lived. He was not erased, but his family was killed. So, are we setting up a sequel called Orphaned here, guys? Because if you are, you can be damn sure that I’ll watch it at some point. You know how I do it.
Overall, I felt much safer after watching this film. I have no problem with the NSA tapping in to my laptop’s webcam and watching me watch movies like Erased. It’s a necessary evil because if they didn’t do it, they might miss a coded message where a guy with an “al” in his surname orders a Hawaiian chicken and pineapple pizza when he’s really ordering death. It’s scary shit, so carry on, gentlemen. The Constitution’s just a piece of paper, after all. In fact, let me know if you need any help. I was actually wondering about the potential security value of getting two laptops, setting them down so that they face each other, and then starting Erased on each laptop at the same time. That way, you guys can watch Erased while you watch Erased. Call me, guys, I’ve got all sorts of great ideas like that to help you catch the terrorists.
Seriously, though. I have a question. You’ve been tapping everything for years. Are you honestly going to tell me that you don’t have recorded footage of the President and the First Lady having marital relations? Why haven’t you released it? Are you waiting to October Surprise the midterms? I mean, I don’t want to watch it or anything. But think of the comedy value! Come on, guys. Do it. Do it. Of course, knowing the luck of the average working American today, they’d probably release footage of Newt Gingrich and a Slovenian prostitute with a bullet hole on her right ass cheek. This is the world we live in, America. God help us all.
This is it, folks. We’ve been erased, and we just don’t know it yet. We think we’re alive, but the eraser keeps rubbing on our heads, pushing us further and further down, until we’re no more. We don’t matter. All we can do is impotently watch movies like Erased and pretend like somebody actually cares about our opinion. That is the only choice presented to us as a viable option today.
Whatever. If you need me, I’ll be watching Olga Kurylenko’s breasts in Hitman. For confirmation, email the NSA. Until next time, America. Good night, and God bless.