Review - Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow (2014), PG-13, 113 minutes - Have you ever wondered what a sci-fi/alien invasion version of Groundhog Day might look like?  No?  Well, to be perfectly honest I haven't either, but with Edge of Tomorrow that's exactly what we get.  Based on the 2009 Japanese light novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka (which has also been adapted to manga), Edge of Tomorrow deals with the United Defense Force's attempt to thwart the invasion of Earth by an alien race known as Mimics (think of a cross between a lion and the sentinels from The Matrix).

Major Cage (Tom Cruise) is a U.S. military public relations desk jockey that is thrown onto the front lines by General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) of the United Defense Force (UDF) after a disagreement the night before what will become the final battle.  Thrust into action with no battle experience, Cage last's longer than most of the rest of J Company and even manages to kill a large Mimic as it impales him.  We come to learn that this Mimic was an Alpha and when it's blood mixed with Cage's as they died, he gained the Alpha's ability to reset the day when he dies.  It takes a bit of getting used to, and Cage relives the same harsh 'welcome to J Company' conversations over and over, each time trying something different in an attempt to either save another soldier's life or make it further in the advance on the enemy.  On one such attempt, he saves the life of Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a UDF legend for her heroics in the Battle of Verdun, earning her the nicknames 'Angel of Verdun' and 'Full Metal Bitch'.  His efforts are short lived, as a fallen carrier crushes her from behind just moments later, but not until after she says "find me when you wake up".  Cage's new goal is to somehow elude J Company and track down this military legend who, as it turns out, is the only one that believes his crazy rants, because she used to have the same ability.  She begins training Cage and he learns that the only way to eradicate the Mimic threat is to take out the Omega (the biggest, baddest Mimic there is - a la the Alien Queen).  Can the two of them put an end to the invasion?  That's what pushes the story forward in a very satisfying trial and error sort of way.

Now I know what you're thinking, "'isn't seeing the same thing over and over again repetitive and boring?".  Actually no.  Oftentimes it's actually pretty humorous, which is a nice touch for an action flick such as this.  Director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith) does an excellent job of cutting the sequences differently each time Cage resets.  Sometimes they pick up right before the previous failed attempt ended the day, and other times he advances the story ahead so that we're seeing something that Cage has experienced on a number of occasions for the first time.  Don't worry, the resets don't go on forever, there does come a point where they stop and the consequences become that much greater.

The editing, effects, and action sequences are great, and the cast, while relatively small is quite entertaining.  This is Tom Cruise's most charismatic performance in quite some time and Emily Blunt (admittedly one of my favorite actresses) continues to show how well rounded she is holding down an action role.  It certainly doesn't hurt to throw in the support of Brendan Gleeson and Bill Paxton (Master Sargeant Farrell), who repeatedly deals with Cage and his various attempts to escape J Company after each reset.

I was pleasantly surprised by Edge of Tomorrow and would definitely recommend it for anyone that's a fan of the sci-fi genre.  There's tons of action, a good dose of humor and fun performances across the board.  It's also amusing seeing all of the blank stares repeatedly thrown Cruise's way as everyone clearly thinks Cage is nuts (almost as if they finally had the opportunity to safely do so to his face after his Oprah couch jumping antics a few years back).  I think there's a pretty good chance that Edge of Tomorrow will find its way into my movie collection later this year when it comes out on blu-ray.












*****SPOILERS*****

- I have not read All You Need Is Kill but I am certainly intrigued now.  I find it kind of odd that they didn't keep that name for the film.  Maybe they felt it sounded a bit too violent for a PG-13 rated flick?

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