Title: Edge of Tomorrow
Director: Doug Liman
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material
Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton, Jonas Armstrong, Charlotte Riley
The epic action of “Edge of Tomorrow” unfolds in a near future in which an alien race has hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, unbeatable by any military unit in the world. Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously dropped into what amounts to a suicide mission. Killed within minutes, Cage now finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop-forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again…and again. But with each battle, Cage becomes able to engage the adversaries with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt). And, as Cage and Rita take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy.
This is one of the first movies I’ve seen, possibly ever, without having watched some sort of trailer first. And if I did see a trailer, I really don’t remember it. So I had no idea what this movie was about, except what I could glean from the posters.
I actually left the theater saying “Wow…this is what I wanted Elysium to be.”
So to begin with, this is a Tom Cruise movie. AKA it’s almost guaranteed to have a few things:
A) Lots of awesome action.
B) A noble, likeable hero who seems to defeat his enemies with ease.
D) A happy ending. Or at least a satisfying one.
E) An enormous budget and therefore really good production quality and A-List actors.
No spoilers, but lets just say this is a pretty accurate assessment of The Edge of Tomorrow. As I’m sure you have figured out from my other movie reviews, I’m a big fan of the gigantic action-movie blockbusters where the hero saves the day, gets the girl, and then rides off happily into the sunset. The Edge of Tomorrow doesn’t necessarily fit that cookie cutter mold, but it did leave me smiling and going “well that was awesome”.
Tom Cruise plays Cage, a soldier who tries to get out of combat, and is then put directly on the front lines of a battle he soon finds out he can’t win against a race of aliens known as Mimics. In fact, he dies a few minutes into the battle. The weird part is he wakes up seconds later, but he’s back to where he was the morning before. Utterly bewildered, he goes through the exact same day again, and dies…again. Only to be revived and returned to the previous morning.
This happens over and over again, each time with Cage trying different ways to survive and as he goes along, trying different ways to save his comrades. But perhaps the hardest part to watch was not his dying again and again (that actually turned out to be somewhat humorous); that first battle, where Cage is helpless, not even knowing how to turn the safety off of his gun as he dodges aliens was painful. It’s not a part you see Cruise play often, and he did the transformation quite well and very believably. Cage has little to zero fighting experience, and no one is willing to help him. As he lives through the battle multiple times, he begins to improve, turning into the fighting machine audiences are accustomed to seeing Cruise play.
There’s a lot of sci-fi alien mumbo-jumbo that makes sense in the movie that I won’t talk about here. Lots of interesting stuff on what exactly the aliens can do, and why Cage is resetting the day again and again. Eventually he teams up with Emily Blunt’s character Rita, and two try desperately to figure out how to win the battle. A relationship blossoms, although it is by no means the most important part of the plot. It’s really almost an afterthought, since, you know, they’re trying to save the human race.
The script, while dealing with serious subject matter, keeps a lightness that I wasn’t really expecting (although I should have been, since it’s a Tom Cruise movie). So while it’s big action, it’s also big fun; that’s not to say that there aren’t heartbreaking moments, or terrifying moments of watching our heroes in dire peril, but I just had this sense that everything was going to work out for the best. The cast was excellent, and included big names like Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Gleeson, and Bill Paxton. Seeing Cruise try so many different methods of getting what he wanted and repeatedly dying was actually quite humorous at times (probably because it started feeling like a video game; you knew that if he died he would come right back and no harm would be done).
Big explosions, lots of shooting, sci-fi power suits (although not very effective ones), creepy aliens, confusing “time travel” (if that’s what you can even call it) astronomically expensive CGI sequences, and Tom Cruise saving the world. It’s a winner in my book. Perfect for fans of the Avengers franchise.