Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt & Bill Paxton
Synopsis: A military officer is brought into an alien war against an extraterrestrial enemy who can reset the day and know the future. When this officer is enabled with the same power, he teams up with a Special Forces warrior to try and end the war
Rating: 12A Run time: 113 minutes
When looking at Edge of Tomorrow, the first thing that should appeal to most is the chance to see the world’s biggest action star, Tom Cruise, get killed, lots. It’s something that the cinema going public have likely yearned for, for over a decade now. The man who seems to be nigh on indestructible, is forced to go through the same day over and over, Groundhog Day style, getting shot in the head, run over by a truck and getting shouted at by Tony from Coronation Street. If that doesn’t sound appealing, then you should stop reading now.
Edge of Tomorrow is a loose adaptation of the slightly sillier sounding All You Need is Kill. Here we have Tom Cruise playing Major William Cage, a PR rep who is suddenly thrust into battle against an alien race at the insistence of Brendan Gleeson’s General Brigham. Cage, being the coward he is, attempts to flee, only to be arrested and taken to Heathrow airport which has become a makeshift operating base for the United Defence Force. Here he is welcomed by a scenery chewing Bill Paxton who is enjoying a role reversal as the bases Squadron Leader.
Cage is now reluctantly a part of the war against a seemingly unstoppable alien race, and his first mission will be to storm the beaches of France in order to take back Europe. Only, once he gets there, he dies within minutes, to then reawaken on the previous day, alive and well and ready to go through it all over again.
So far, Edge of Tomorrow has referenced the likes of Groundhog Day, Aliens and Saving Private Ryan all within the first half hour. And so far, it’s all very welcome. The story takes many of its cues from Groundhog Day, with Cage reliving the same day over and over until he gets things right and redeems himself. Only here, he has to die each time, rather than go to sleep and wake up at 6am again and again. In order to become the hero here, Cage enlists the help of Emily Blunt’s hard as nails Sergeant Rita Vrataski.
Vrataski is key to Cage finding out what’s happening, as she too had to relive the same day when she encountered the same monster that has afflicted Cage. Once the two are together we have some of the films best scenes, as Vrataski trains Cage, while he has to survive a little longer each time in order to find a way to stop the alien menace. In many ways, Edge of Tomorrow is like a video game, where our hero has to reset the level each time he dies, having to remember where he went wrong and to avoid repeating the same mistake.
There’s also a dark sense of humour going on among all the frenetic action scenes and the continual loops back to the same day. Director Doug Liman and his writing team clearly had fun thinking of different ways to kill Tom Cruise, with some unexpectedly violent deaths thrown in. What’s also fun, is that Cruise does not start off as the hero, and instead has to earn his stripes through his various loops back to the same day. It’s a welcome deviation for the actor and the audience, and provides a pleasant curve to our heroes story.
Edge of Tomorrow perhaps suffers most towards the end. Not to give anything away, but it is yet another blockbuster film that defeats the enemy in a way that is becoming all too familiar for action films nowadays. This is all forgiven though, as Edge of Tomorrow provides a funny, action packed summer blockbuster that simply revels in being able to kill its big money star countless times.
In summary: Edge of Tomorrow provides action and spectacle, while offering something a little different to the rest of the blockbuster crowd. Cruise and Blunt are excellent as the films heroes, and provide an exciting double act.
Note: This post originally appeared as a guest review for Movie Rob’s Genre Grandeur.