In a lot of ways Tom Cruise plays the same character in the majority of his films; call it the Ethan Hunt persona. (Hunt is the character that Cruise plays in the Mission Impossible films.) He is smart, athletic, self-deprecating in his humor, a man of action who appreciates the abilities of those around him including the underdogs of the world. If this particular “type” was played over and over by another actor it would become an SNL skit, but Cruise is so good at playing a version of his signature action hero that it is more fun to watch him than make light. Going one step further, despite being in his early fifties he looks younger without overly trying to look younger – a man equally at home in either a hoodie or a suit.
Cruise plays a variation of his Hunt character in Edge of Tomorrow. Granted, Cruise’s Cage does not start out as the hero archetype. No, he is one of those guys who are talking heads that encourage war while having no intention of actually fighting in one. Yet the wheel of fortune is a fickle lady and Cage finds himself in a faceoff with a General who isn’t charmed with platitudes or enticed by bribery followed by threats. After a scuffle in London headquarters Cage awakens a member of a squadron about to head off for the final showdown with alien invaders. As a man whose rise up military ranks has all been behind the scenes, he is unsure how to fight and ends up dying through his incompetency…that is until he wakes the next morning.
In some ways Edge is very much like Groundhog Day crossed with elements of Iron Man, but despite that description it is a good story. Emily Blunt is not on a list of actresses one would think of as a heroine in a war movie; however girlfriend has some muscles and pulled it out. There is one shot of her doing a Ninja type of pushup that I truly hope was not done with the aid of CGI or strings because it was awe inspiring.
As with most science fiction films to work, the story has to demonstrate some logic to make the suspension of disbelief work and Edge does. I have some quibbles with exactly why the general has it in for Cruise prior to ordering him to the front, but this is minor in comparison to how the film was able to move the plot along. A lot could have gone wrong but didn’t.
Like so many Cruise films of late, Edge has done significantly better in overseas markets than it has domestically. It has held on in the theaters which I think is more of a testament to good word of mouth than Cruise’s appeal. His career is an interesting case study in stardom. It has been over nine years since Cruise jumped on Oprah Winfrey’s yellow sofa and declared his love for Katie Holmes. Afterwards that he was embroiled with various Scientology centered controversies which did little to promote Scientology and generally ended up bruising Cruise’s career. However as he weathered major PR problems, he has made some good movies of which Edge of Tomorrow is an example.
I recommend Edge of Tomorrow. It is the type of film that will play well on the smaller screen if you do not want to see it in the theater. It is a fun flick for anyone interested in science fiction or action movies.