A silly 1996 action film with Arnold Schwarzenegger as a US Marshal uncovering a conspiracy, Eraser was the fourth film directed by Chuck Russell. Providing the score was Alan Silvestri, during a remarkably prolific time in which he combined sweet scores for children’s films and comedies with darker ones for action films – and while he’s become considerably less prolific, that mixture remains a constant on his filmography. It’s a highly-entertaining action score, too – Silvestri was one of the few rivals to Jerry Goldsmith when it came to scoring this sort of film during the 1990s. The score is typical of the composer, with bass-laden orchestrations producing a thunderous, at times headache-inducing action sound. The score doesn’t often let up – it’s frantic almost from the first moment to the last.
Big themes are, of course, not what you will find – there are various motifs from which Silvestri draws a lot of material, but nothing that will stick too long in the memory. It’s all very professional, rather exciting a lot of the time – and ultimately somewhat unmemorable. Atlantic Records put a soundtrack out at the time of the film which was a decent presentation of the score – perhaps a shade on the long side at 45 minutes, given the nature of the music; and now La-La Land has re-released it in its Expanded Archival Collection and it’s a frightening 77 minutes long. It’s hard to imagine that there are more than a handful of people – Silvestri’s most devout followers – who would choose this presentation over the original one, but of course the album does have the advantage of making the music available again after it had been out-of-print for a long time. The core material is very entertaining and I guess most of the limited edition soundtracks today are really aimed at “collectors” and not “listeners” (I can’t go on beating this dead horse that much longer, so there’s no point dwelling). In short – if you like Silvestri, you will undoubtedly like this, because it’s one of his most impressive “pure” action scores. If you already have the existing release, then I’m not sure it’s for you. ***