The original title of the European set thriller Erased is listed as The Expatriate, but it might as well just be called Unknown 2, since it feels almost the exact same as that Liam Neeson film from a couple of years ago, but delivered in a seemingly made-for-TV package. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the film persay and there are worse things ti emulate than Neeson’s recent output, but it’s so thoroughly uninspired and unoriginal that it’s forgettable almost the second it ends. Chances are you might get it confused with a film you’ve already seen.
Ben Logan (Aaron Eckhart) is a retired CIA operative currently living in Belgium with his formerly estranged, high school aged, photo essayist daughter (Liana Liberato) and working in private security manufacturing. One day, Ben and his daughter arrive at his office to find out any trace of his job and co-workers has been wiped off the face of the Earth and his boss never existed. All his co-workers have been killed and he’s the last missing link, leading him on a search for answers and asses to kick in an effort to get his life back.
The action in director Philipp Stolzl’s film is adequate when it comes, but at 104 minutes this feels far too long, dancing around the obvious plot beats the film will hit like clockwork. Eckhart is fine, and he handles the physicality and the fatherly duties well. He’s well within the right wing, protect the homestead he’s been building for himself the past few years following Olympus Has Fallen, The Dark Knight, and Battle: Los Angeles. Even he isn’t doing anything new, but at least there’s an effort being made. Olga Kurylenko shows up about 40 minutes in as the former CIA chief who fired Ben in the first place and knew about the Brussels shell company operation from the outset.
The worst reviews to write are the ones where I just have so little to go on and I can’t think of a thing to say. Erased is one of those films. If it’s not trying that hard to do anything, why should I give that much back to it? When you’ve seen one “Who are you working for shakedown” or a perilous car chase with someone at gunpoint, you haven’t necessarily seen them all, but when they’re as rote as the ones in Erased, you’ll wish you were watching something that remotely could have given you a reason to care. The whole film can be summed up with pretty much a single elongated yawning sound effect.