Edge of Tomorrow
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Based of the short novel “All You Need is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Tom Cruise is stuck reliving the same day over and over during an alien invasion in Edge of Tomorrow from Warner Bros. Pictures also starring Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, and Brendan Gleeson. Is this one of Tom Cruise’s best movies ever or is the film just a sci-fi ripoff of Groundhog Day?
In the near future a race of alien beings knows as “Mimics” have invaded Earth. All of the world’s governments create the United Defence Force to combine their military forces into one army. Unfortunately it does little effect as the aliens are wiping out entire countries across Europe. One weapon that has somewhat become effective is an exoskeleton battle suit called “Jacket Technology.” It is fully armed with high-tech weaponry and gives the wearer added agility and strength. The concept of the suit is that even someone with very little training can become a bonafied killing machine.
A poster child for the war and the suit is Rita Vrataski. On her first day of battle, she is credited with killing over one hundred Mimics. Her heroism on the battlefield has given her the nicknames of “The Angel of Verdun” and “Full Metal Bitch.” In order to boost morale and get more of the Jacket suits into production, the UDF enlists Major William Cage to be their official spokesperson on every news network and television show across the world.
On the eve of one of the biggest UDF offensive counter-maneuvers known as Operation Downfall, General Brigham asks Cage to go on the front lines to create a PR friendly video to show the world the loss of life was worth it. Not at all being a soldier, Cage tries to weasel out of the assignment by trying to blackmail Brigham. It doesn’t work and Cage is arrested, demoted, branded a deserter, and sent to the front lines of Operation Downfall.
Now a Private, Cage is assigned to J Squad, a group of rag-tag soldiers who don’t like deserters. Cage is thrown into an exo-suit, loaded onto a drop ship and sent into battle. The ship is hit with a missile and everyone drops to the battlefield. Cage not even knowing how to turn the safety off on his suit is killed within the first five minutes of landing on the beach along with every other soldier.
Suddenly Cage wakes up on the same duffel bags as he did when he first was sent to the front lines. He introduced to J Squad and put into a exo-suit. He gets dropped on the beach and is killed within the first five minutes. He then wakes up and relives the same day over and over, but with each day he repeats, he learns a new pattern and survival techniques that gets him further into battle. As each day passes and Cage survives more and more he runs into Rita Vrataski, who during one repeat, saves and talks to her. She knows what’s going on and tells him to find her when he wakes up. With the help from Rita, will Cage be able solve the mystery of the time loop in order to defeat the Mimics or will he be forever cursed to live, die, and repeat?
Whether you agree or disagree with his religious and personal views, there is no denying that Tom Cruise is a Hollywood superstar. He works hard and always puts maximum effort into his characters. He is an absolute professional chameleon that can believably portray an ambitious JAG officer, a cocky fighter pilot, a ruthless hitman, or a hairy overweight Hollywood movie producer that loves Diet Coke. In Edge of Tomorrow, Cruise is plays a military public relations officer that against his wishes becomes an unstoppable super soldier. From the trailer I was anticipating this movie to be just another mindless science fiction war movie, but after witnessing the spectacle that is Edge of Tomorrow, I can tell you it’s so much more. In the most simplistic terms, you can classify the film as Starship Troopers and Saving Private Ryan meets Groundhog Day. It has some cool sci-fi alien battle scenes and weapons, but also a bit of time bending sophistication and surprisingly a lot of humor. The movie by all means isn’t a comedy, but the film is so well-edited that you can’t help but laugh at the situations Cruise keeps having to repeat.
Tom Cruise plays Major William Cage. Imagine the character as media spokesperson like the White House Press Secretary or a Hollywood agent. He always knows what to say in front of a camera even if that means stretching the truth. He’s living the highlife of as a pseudo military television celebrity until he’s told he has to go to the front lines to report. Right off the bat, Cage is not at all shy in admitting he is by all means is not a soldier. This fact gives you the starting basis for the character. He is a coward who’s never even picked up a weapon. As the movie progresses, so the does the character and you get to witness Cruise be an awkward bullet sponge into a killing machine as the time loop allows him to experiment. Imagine the first time you played a video game shooter like Gears of War, Halo, or Call of Duty on their most brutally difficult mode setting. You immediately die, restart the level, and try something new. You die so much you want to throw your controller through the TV. Eventually though, you learn the patterns of enemies and their tactics and you adapt to the surprises. That’s the concept behind Edge of Tomorrow. You get to witness Tom Cruise in the ultimate live action video game movie.
But what makes Edge of Tomorrow something special is that it’s not at all a movie just for those nerdy geeks in the audience that love Star Wars and Star Trek. Yes of course the movie takes place in a sci-fi fantasy, but it’s more about character growth and development that is universally relatable. It is a pure underdog story set amongst a global Apocalypse. I’d even compare the movie to The Walking Dead as even non zombie horror fans love the television show. Edge of Tomorrow has many universally themes that I think it’s extremely entertaining to a broad span of demographics.
Who Cage meets on the battlefield that eventually trains him to become humanity’s savior is Rita Vrataski played by Emily Blunt. This is Blunt’s first time in an action movie and she pulls the role of spectacularly. He is tough and dangerous and scary. She walks out to the front lines with a confident swagger. She also has a really cool exo-suit. Whenever she gets in trouble twin shoulder mounted guns auto-target the enemy. But she needs the hands free weapons because she walks around with a huge sword that was made from a sharpened helicopter blade. But Blunt’s character isn’t just mindless soldier. She reminded me a lot of Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in Aliens. She is strong, but you can tell deep down she is vulnerable. Cruise and Blunt have fantastic chemistry as part of the film has a bit of a romantic edge to it. One particular scene on a farm really gives you the feeling that as Cage keeps repeating the days, his heart breaks every time he see Rita die. One moment he has the ability to sort of win it all, but at the consequence of Rita dying. Cage is so in love with Rita, he purposely sabotages it to figure out how to win and have Rita survive.
The other major character in the movie is Master Sergeant Farell portrayed by Bill Paxton. He’s a sort of mix of R. Lee Ermey from Full Metal Jacket and Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch from Avatar. He provides most of the subtle humor in the movie. I was waiting for him to repeat his famous line of “Game Over, Man!” that his character PVT Hudson said in Aliens. Speaking of Aliens, the soldiers of J Squad reminded me of the rag-tag misfit soldiers that Ripley had to fight with. In this movie Tom Cruise get to fight with a messier version of the Dirty Dozen. I’m not going to get in-depth with all the characters, but each one represents a different background of race, gender, and nationality. I throughly enjoyed what the supporting cast added to the film.
Edge of Tomorrow is such a beautiful film to watch from beginning to end. It has amazing and realistic visuals that come to life in 3D. Not a lot of movies really look spectacular in the extra dimension, but the battle scenes especially jump off the screen. It’s also brilliantly edited so as to not keep showing you the same thing over and over, but to show you the subtle differences of how even in repetition, things change. It’s the expert editing that adds the humor of the movie. But the action, acting, and special effects are all top-notch thanks to the directing of Doug Liman who directed two of my favorite films Mr. & Mrs. Smith and The Bourne Identity. Edge of Tomorrow is one of those hidden gems of movie magic that validate everything special about going to the movies.
If I had only one minor gripe to the film, that would be the design of the Mimics themselves. They looked a bit like dogs made out of liquid metal. They were sort of cool, but I just wasn’t blown away by their presentation. They sort of reminded me of the sentinel robots from The Matrix known as Squiddies. Like I said this is a very very minor gripe as I thought the design could have been just a little bit cooler. I also was confused why the humans called them Mimics. I have a theory with their time loop technology that allowed them to know what the enemy was going to do, just like Cage can, but the movie just never explained it. I guess the film just wanted you to figure it out for yourself.
I absolutely had an amazing time with Edge of Tomorrow. It’s a movie that intelligently suspenseful, surprisingly humorous, and visually spectacular all while not being mindless noise and lights. This is one of the most fun movies I’ve seen in a long time that I really hope generates a lot of word of mouth buzz because this is a highly recommended movie that audiences need to see.
What I thought was going to be just a mindless Sci Fi flick turned out to be one of my favorite movies of the year so far. It’s not only jammed packed with action, but it has a great mix of suspense and humor. This is probably one of Tom Cruise’s best performances and he pulls it off because of great supporting performances by Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton. The movie is a joy to watch from beginning to end especially in 3D. If you love timeloop movies like Groundhog Day and Source Code, then you’ll love this movie. Edge of Tomorrow is a fantastic movie that is a must see in theaters and will be a great addition to your home video library when it’s available.