Edge of Tomorrow
Review by Daniel Rester
In the sci-fi actioner Edge of Tomorrow, Tom Cruise once again plays a character that must save the world. This time it is from alien creatures called Mimics. But at least in this outing Cruise isn’t someone named Jack again.
Tomorrow, based on the novel All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, takes place in the near future and involves human forces battling the Mimics. Cruise plays Major William Cage, a United Defense Forces spokesman. After being summoned to London by UDF commander General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson), Cage is soon forced into fighting on the European beach front in Operation Downfall.
When in battle with the Mimics, and while wearing an armed exoskeleton called a Jacket, Cage is soon killed in combat. However, he wakes up again at the military base he was at the day before the battle. He soon discovers that certain Mimic blood is causing him to live these moments over and over again each time he is killed. This leads to him teaming up with famous warfighter Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) – nicknamed “Full Metal Bitch” – in order to find a way to defeat the Mimics once and for all.
Aliens plus metal suits plus Groundhog Day (1993) plus Source Code (2011) equals Tomorrow. While derivative in ways because of some of its ingredients, Tomorrow also equals a whole lot of awesome. Directed by Doug Liman, doing his best work since The Bourne Identity (2002), Tomorrow is lively entertainment from start to finish.
With its premise, Tomorrow could have easily been a repetitive mess if handled poorly. However, the screenwriting (by Chrisopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth) keeps things tight and fresh (and at times very funny) while Liman establishes a quick pace and consistently delivers intrigue and excitement with the visuals aspects. All of this is immensely aided by the editing from James Herbert, the cinematography by Dion Beebe, and the production design by Oliver Scholl; the movie provides many images that are full of grit and creativity. The music by Christophe Beck is the cherry on top.
Cruise, now at age 51, proves to still be an action star when he needs to be. Yes, the actor has been playing it safe with some formulaic choices over the past few years. But why complain if the product turns out to be fun entertainment? Cruise puts forth great physical energy and effortless charm as Cage. Though Cage eventually becomes cocky and urgent like a lot of Cruise’s other parts, we also get to see the actor be more wimpy and ignorant as the character towards the beginning; this development plays out in a terrific way.
Blunt is excellent as well as Vrataski, coming across as badass and beautiful in equal measures. More importantly, though, she is believable. And the chemistry between her and Cruise is palpable.
The other supporting characters are less interesting, with them mostly being a bunch of military grunts. However, we get three actors that stick out a bit. The first is Bill Paxton, clearly having a blast as a dedicated military sergeant who likes to keep Cage in order. Then we have Gleeson, who is always welcome and fits in nicely as Brigham. And then there is the underrated Noah Taylor playing a scientist friend of Vrataski; the actor bounces off of Cruise and Blunt with a lot of energy in some key scenes.
Tomorrow works very well for what it is going for. The film isn’t a deep-thinking sci-fi movie, and it does push some questionable plot points and possible holes at the end (is that ending a copout?). While it would have been nice to have more food for thought in terms of themes and character after the credits rolled, Tomorrow is still a great time. It’s an exciting, solid summer blockbuster.
Score: 3 out of 4 stars (Grade Equivalent for Me: B+).
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive material).
Runtime: 1 hour and 53 minutes.
U.S. Release Date: June 6th, 2014.