What do you get when you combine aliens, explosions, and the repeating day motif of Groundhog Day? Tom Cruise’s latest sci-fi action flick Edge of Tomorrow.
Tom Cruise’s personal life gets a lot of attention, but strip away that nuttiness and what you have is a workhorse actor who knows how to entertain. Whether it’s the Mission: Impossible series, Minority Report, or Oblivion, Cruise is a master at making a damn good action film. Edge of Tomorrow is the latest in his string of successes.
Edge of Tomorrow is based on the Japanese sci-fi novel All You Need Is Kill (great title!) by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. The movie’s plot: an alien race known as mimics has overrun the European continent, and unified forces are gearing up for a D-Day style invasion in France. Major William Cage (Cruise) finds himself on the front lines of the invasion, where he quickly dies. Only he doesn’t. Time resets, and he wakes up the morning before the invasion. He relives the same day, dying again and again. Aided by Sergeant Rita Vratraski (Emily Blunt) the war hero known as “Full Metal Bitch,” he plots to defeat the mimics.
What’s great about Edge of Tomorrow:
–Cruise and Blunt are excellent. This isn’t Oscar bait. We’re not looking for amazing acting. We want skill, competence and relatability. They deliver.
–The action is intense. The battle scenes are breakneck, part video game, part roller coaster.
–Humor. I didn’t think I’d be laughing during a Tom Cruise sci-fi action movie, but the writers were wise to add some funny scenes. On one level, this movie almost calls for it. The humor, which comes mostly from bungled deaths (and repeated days) helps break the tension. It also lets the audience laugh at the overall concept. Cruise plays it well — sometimes he’s clearly ready to die (again).
–The invasion of France has clear and obvious parallels to the Allied invasion of Europe in D-Day during World War II. The writers build a pretty complete world, one that has been at war for a while.
What’s not so great:
–I had a couple of issues with the ending, which I won’t reveal. The best I can say is that it was satisfying. I’ll leave it at that.
Overall, Edge of Tomorrow is a thrill ride of a movie with solid performances, some laughs, and great action scenes that make it worth a trip to the theater.