Edge_of_Tomorrow_Poster

US/UK 2014

Director: Doug Liman

Writers: Christopher McQuarrie. Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, & Hiroshi Sakurazaka (novel)

Runtime: 113 mins

It’s déjà vu again in this cracking sci-fi action blockbuster

You have to hand it to Tom Cruise. At the age of 52 (I had to look that up) – my own age – he passes for about 10 years younger and still makes a more-than-credible action hero (apparently there is also another Mission Impossible on the way). His latest action role is that of Major William Cage in Edge of Tomorrow, a sci-fi blockbuster based on the novel All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka (in the novel Cage is just 20). Planet Earth has been invaded by alien creatures, known as “mimics” because of their ability to copy and respond to the human race’s military strategies. However, the development of a new high-tech military combat jacket has enabled Earth’s soldiers to put up a fight against the invaders.

Despite his rank, Cage is not a combat soldier – he does marketing and recruitment. He therefore protests when ordered to take a camera crew to the front line, gets knocked unconscious, and duly finds himself being kicked awake in the rank of Private. He is fitted with a combat jacket that he barely knows how to operate, dropped into the heat of battle (brilliantly depicted in all its terrifying confusion), and shortly afterwards gets killed by a mimic only to find himself being kicked awake again earlier that day. Cage repeatedly relives this day, his accumulation of experiences enabling him to live a little longer each time until eventually he has a battlefield encounter with Rita Vratasky (Emily Blunt). She is literally the poster-girl for the military, those posters reading “Full Metal Bitch”, following her major victory over the aliens at Verdun. Vratasky knows why Cage is continually reliving his day, because she used to have the same time-travelling ability. Together, they must exploit Cage’s ability in order to find and destroy the alien “brain”, a collective supermind that controls each individual alien.

It is not too hard to spot that Edge of Tomorrow is a melange of movie influences, namely Groundhog Day, Source Code, and Starship Troopers. But whilst these influences are obvious, Edge of Tomorrow works in its own right and is actually great fun. The film does not take itself too seriously and the script is very witty in places, especially in charting Cage’s progress from bumbling PR man to seasoned soldier. When Vratasky explains the cause behind Cage’s time-travelling ability (or perhaps “affliction” might be a better word), she also explains that he must die every day until the alien brain has been destroyed. Accordingly, she occasionally has to despatch Cage herself once his fighting skills have enabled him to survive the aliens unscathed.

Although action flicks of this sort aren’t too much of a challenge for the acting skills of A-listers like Cruise and Blunt, they throw themselves into their roles and have a good onscreen chemistry. The only slight irritation I had was some slightly shaky camera work in one of the action-free interior scenes. Camera movement in this context was obtrusive and rather pointless, but fortunately it did not last long. More importantly, the 3D version worked well, as it so often does for films with lots of crashes and explosions. Filming took place in England, and for many British viewers there will be a certain piquancy to scenes of futuristic battle craft passing over the iconic chalk cliffs on England’s south coast, reminiscent as this is of the journey made by many aircraft during World War 2.

In terms of story, Edge of Tomorrow isn’t quite in the same league as Cruise’s earlier sci-fi outing Minority Report, but this is one of the best action blockbusters you are likely to see this year.

Rating: 8/10

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Comments
  1. CMrok93 says:

    A very fun movie that shows what one can do with a gimmick premise, if they just put enough of a spin on it. Nice review.

    Like

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