Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson
Running Time: 113 Minutes
Synopsis: A soldier fighting in a war with aliens finds himself caught in a time loop of his last day in battle, leaving him as humanities last hope of survival.
People can be split into two groups; those that think Tom Cruise is the finest leading man of a generation, adding energy and quality to all the films he’s worked on- and those that would like to see him killed over and over again. Well, the stars have aligned and humanity can unite, as EDGE OF TOMORROW serves both camps.
Cruise plays Cage, a battle-shy army major demoted to private following an act of cowardice. Unfortunately for Cage, his slip in rank coincides with a seemingly un-winnable war against super- intelligent Matrix-esque metallic octopus aliens. So far, so silly (but good silly like STARSHIP TROOPERS, not bad silly like PACIFIC RIM). Whilst ducking around the battlefield he chances upon the ability to relive the same day over again each time he dies. And he dies a lot (think your Dad playing Call of Duty on veteran mode). Private Cage has to find a way to win the war before the aliens find a way to kill him for good.
Comparisons with SOURCE CODE and GROUNDHOG DAY are inevitable given the set-up, and similarities with the latter are more apparent than you might think with the one line “On your feet, maggot!” as the new ‘I Got You Babe’. EDGE OF TOMORROW has a sense of humour too, essential for any movie that ties itself to a concept allowing Tom Cruise to look Emily Blunt dead in the eye and creepily tell her how many sugars she likes in her coffee (probably Starbucks’ next trick).
While this is undoubtedly Cruise’s movie, Emily Blunt turns in a very strong performance as Cage’s mentor, the so called ‘Full Metal Bitch’. There may be suspicions that Blunt is taking the whole thing a bit seriously, but someone has to look stern and do push-ups while Private Cage convinces people of his new gift by asking them how else he could know exactly where they shit themselves in Kindergarten. Refreshingly, if anyone’s the damsel in distress here it’s Cruise, with Blunt’s hardcore super-soldier Rita helping him through what she’s already experienced. She’s the kind of girl that would rather die than be rescued, but thankfully the film stops short of making her the archetypal unlikable man-hater. Private Cage is a weapon that can be used against the aliens to win the war, a weapon very much wielded by Rita.
Other characters are mostly two dimensional grunts, wallpaper behind the action, which is just fine as it allows the film to stay focused on the action, galloping along at a pace that doesn’t let you stop and think about how ridiculous it all probably is. The scripting is occasionally clunky and the third act twist is predictable to say the least, but neither takes too much intensity and fun away from the big finale.
EDGE OF TOMORROW might be guilty of borrowing from a long list of other films but it somehow manages to stay fresh and entertaining from start to finish regardless. Whether you think Tom Cruise is an on screen legend or not, this is a film that warrants a cinema visit.
(4 / 5) EDGE OF TOMORROW is out now in the UK and released in the US on June 6th.