3 1/2 StarsTom Cruise’s remarkable career resiliency over the course of three decades is a staggering achievement, that fortitude and gung-ho temperament are best utilized (as of late) in this darkly funny, and spectacular looking sci-fi action thriller. The most obvious reference point is Groundhog’s Day, but Edge of Tomorrow borrows from Starship Troopers, Aliens, and a number of other well-regarded genre titles to create its tale of a solider reliving his last day, over and over. Edge of Tomorrow sports slick effects, solid acting and a great screenplay from novice scribes John-Henry Butterworth, Jez Butterrworth, with an unmistakable polish from Cruise stalwart Christopher McQuarrie.
Lt. Col. Bill Cage (Tom Cruise) is a public relations officer who has never seen a moment of warfare when he is assigned to a unit that is to be dropped into a hot-zone in what amounts to a suicide mission. Killed almost immediately, Cage awakes to find himself within a narrow time loop – forcing him to live out the same mission and his subsequent death over and over. Before his initial defeat Cage almost accidentally kills an Alpha, one of the leaders of the invading alien force. That creature’s blood penetrates Cage’s armor and fuses itself with his human blood causing this unique time ripple effect.
In battle Cage rescues Rita, the most famous solider on the planet after her smashing victory in a stand-off some time earlier. Both Cage and Rita sense that they have the special gift to regenerate after death. So she takes the underdeveloped solider under her tutelage and builds him into a formidable weapon. The training is competitive and laced with sexual tension, Liman excels here much as he did with Jolie and Pitt’s fight scene’s in Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
The writing is superior in that each reincarnation of Cruise gives us a bit more on the back-end and cuts out the exposition, nothing feels redundant in a movie that is essentially about redundancy. Emily Blunt is attractive and great choice for the Military’s propaganda led poster-girl, her war hero Rita would kick the shit out of Katniss. As for the man front and center, Cruise’s performance may go over looked but what he is doing here is deft acting amidst special effects and pyrotechnics that easily overwhelm his presence. I was reminded of the strong acting from Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall, another solid performance overlooked in a sci-fi spectacle. It is unfortunate that Edge of Tomorrow has been saddled with a silly title and bad marketing, I have a feeling when this hits home-video outlets its audience and fan-base will grow sizably.
Director: Doug Liman
Stars: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton