2013, Philipp Stolzl
With each new film, I continue to mourn the death of Aaron Eckhart’s career. After coming onto the scene strong with a brilliant performance in Neil LaBute’s In the Company of Men, he immediately began working in supporting roles for major directors like Oliver Stone, Steven Soderbergh and Sean Penn. Then the big studios seemed to get wind of this talented and very traditionally handsome man so they put in the gears to try and make him a star. That led to a string of flops, but he found his way again with a return to his indie roots, giving some tremendous work in films like Conversations with Other Women and Thank You for Smoking. For a while after that he did a decent job of balancing out his smaller pictures like Towelhead with more mainstream products such as The Dark Knight, giving consistently strong work no matter what the genre was.
Rabbit Hole was another major peak on this roller coaster career, but for some reason after that he took a sharp turn away from the character-driven pieces of the past and has been on this horrible run of one horrific movie after another. Battle Los Angeles was the start and 2013 sees him lob up two big misfires with a supporting role in Olympus Has Fallen and the leading part in Erased. With his only upcoming project being I, Frankenstein it doesn’t look like he’s going to be changing gears again any time soon and I honestly just don’t get it. He’s such a talented actor and has delivered more than a handful of performances that could easily put him up there with some of the best working today, but he continues to go back to these awful pictures that can’t look appealing on paper and are worse on screen. Whether it’s him, his agent or the studios, someone out there seems intent on trying to make him work as this mainstream leading star but his strong suit is in character work in smaller pictures. Him and Colin Farrell should start some sort of support group.
I’m spending this review talking about my frustration with Eckhart’s career, because when it comes to Erased there really isn’t that much to say. I’ve seen and enjoyed my fair share of generic action thrillers in my day, but Erased takes the word derivative to a whole new level. Primarily a ripoff of the Bourne series, Erased is nothing more than a factory-built amalgam of a myriad of disposable action films we’ve seen a thousand times before this and done much better. I didn’t hate watching this, but there’s absolutely nothing to do it that actually makes it worth spending 100 minutes of your life sitting through. Eckhart kind of tries and bless his heart for that, but you can look at his face and realize that he is just as clueless as everyone else as to why he keeps doing movies like this.
2013, Antoine Fuqua
"Why don’t you and I play a game of "fuck off"? You go first."
This was a line in Olympus Has Fallen. These are my feelings towards Olympus Has Fallen.
Aaron Eckhart, please stop making such terrible decisions in the movies you choose. You’re so much better than all of this.