Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros.)
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material.
Starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton, Jonas Armstrong, Tony Way, Kick Gurry, Franz Drameh, Dragomir Mrsic, Charlotte Riley, Masayoshi Haneda, Terence Maynard, Noah Taylor, Lara Pulver, Madeleine Mantock.
Written by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth, based on the novel “All You Need is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.
Directed by Doug Liman.
Time travel movies are often problematic, with all kinds of conundrums and twists that can’t always be reconciled with a few special effects and shaky science. If the movie is appealing, sometimes you can overlook such deficiencies. Edge of Tomorrow (which sounds more like an appropriate soap opera title) is a movie that challenges those expectations, with some surprising results.
Set in a future where an alien race known as ‘mimics’ have invaded Europe, Tom Cruise stars as Major William Cage, a PR officer in the global military force. Summoned to England by Gen. Brigham (Brendan Gleeson), Cage is suddenly demoted and forced to join the grunts in the front lines of an invasion that is scheduled to take place the next day. Without combat experience and general distaste for war, Cage finds himself wearing exoskeleton battle armor on a French beachhead. During the battle, Cage kills an ‘alpha’ mimic, as some of the alien blood gets on him. Cage is suddenly transported back in time to the day before, right after being demoted at the military base. Confused, Cage tries to explain to his sergeant (Bill Paxton) that he’s stuck in a time warp, with little understanding. Soon enough, he’s back on the beachhead, and dies, only to repeat the same loop.
Cage eventually runs into Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a poster child for the mimic war, since she was one of the first soldiers to inflict some damage on the aliens with the newfangled exoskeletons. When Cage explains his predicament to Rita, she believes him, having been through a similar loop herself. Rita decides to train Cage so that they can come up with a plan to take the aliens down for good. Their plan involved dying several times until Cage is formidable in battle.
As Cage and Rita get closer, the aliens are always able to anticipate their every move, since the ‘alpha’ blood has time travel qualities. With the help of Cage’s platoon, the pair concocts a final desperate plan to conquer the mimics.
Edge of Tomorrow is a fantastic film, complimented by outstanding special effects and action. Cruise’s performance as a reluctant action hero is noteworthy, along with Blunt’s portrayal as a tough, unyielding, take-no-prisoners leader. Most of the fun in EOT comes via several time travel loop gags (much like Ground Hog Day) involving Cage and the people he meets over and over again.
One slight problem I had with the movie is its ending, which leaves a few time travel conundrums unanswered. All the other awesome stuff in EOT overshadows such small inconveniences.
EOT is inspired by a Japanese short story that gained popularity as a ‘manga’ (Japanese graphic novel) called “All You Need is Kill.” Brace yourself for more manga adaptations, because EOT may inspire more major studios (already void of fresh ideas) to mine for new material. Maybe that’s not a bad thing, since EOT will probably end up being one of the best films of the summer.