The actor, gaunt but still retaining his good looks, here plays Ben Logan, an expat with a mysterious past. Making a home in Belgium along with estranged daughter (of course) Amy, Ben is slowly beginning to get a handle on life and work abroad. However, that's when his office, bank account and effectively his identity disappear overnight, and he's forced to go on the run with Amy in tow in order to a) survive and b) find answers to a needlessly convoluted international conspiracy. Luckily, Ben is ex-CIA, possessed of a very particular set of skills, skills he's acquired over a long career that make him a nightmare for the people who are after him. Sound familiar?
It's curious to see how many films have recently utilized the father-daughter formula -- "Live Free or Die Hard" and "Taken" are just two examples, not to mention countless B-movies. We understand why it works -- it allows members of the audience who can't relate to the gruff, scarred killer to make a connection with his little girl, who eventually learns to hold her own. That said, it's a cheap ploy and one that's easy to handle poorly. Writer Arash Amel, whose other work includes the upcoming Nicole Kidman-starrer "Grace of Monaco," gives female characters in "Erased" the shortest shrift -- that includes Olga Kurylenko's thankless turn as a conflicted CIA agent who doubles as an exposition device.
The film's apparent popularity overseas is perhaps due to its soured view on America's role as a system of control/world police out to manage and, if necessary, destabilize foreign interests. Zealots may deem Eckhart damn near un-American for starring in a film that is so openly critical of American intervention. But maybe that's us reading way too much into what turns out in the end to be a solid VOD release, with Eckhart lifting his leading role out of anonymity and claiming it with a driven if not outstanding performance. [B-]