Over the years Tom Cruise has been one of the few actors that has seemed to be pretty consistent with delivering quality projects. Sure they haven’t all been great, but more often than not he seems to pic some interesting and films that deliver in the end. His latest, Edge of Tomorrow takes him once again into the world of science fiction, but while this is not unfamiliar territory for the star, the character he is portraying seems to be. Could this repeat yet another great entry into the Cruise filmography or will it not be worth repeating?
Edge of Tomorrow follows an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously dropped into what amounts to a suicide mission against an alien race that has hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault. Killed within minutes, he now finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop-forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again...and again. But with each battle, he becomes able to engage the adversaries with increasing skill, alongside a Special Forces warrior and, as they take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy. The idea behind this film has been used numerous time in films like Groundhog Day, but while sometimes they work they can easily get lost on themselves. Thankfully that is not the case with this film as it is perfectly put together on numerous levels creating an great use of this idea. Typically Cruise plays these action roles as the unstoppable hero ready to wreak havoc on the bad guys, but here he is far from that in the beginning. Instead he is fearful of the conflict and wants nothing to do with the action making for a character that feels fresh and different for him. As the film progresses you are able to watch him quickly grow into a soldier, but still has a bit of that hesitation keeping him grounded and never fully the badass fans are used too. Emily Blunt might not be the first person you think of for an action role, but that will likely change after this film as she brings the pain. She maintains a hint of the feminine nature while still clearly ready to kick ass and she does just that.
The story itself is actually pretty simple, but just complex enough to keep it from being dull. When you start dealing with repeating timelines like this you have to get creative to tell a good story and they keep it simple, but with plenty of impact. After allowing the same thing to repeat numerous times with some funny and serious results it soon starts to throw different elements into the mix to keep it feeling original as opposed to starting to run its course. With every repeat it just gets that much more entertaining. As seen in the previews this film showcases plenty of action that once it starts never fully lets up until they end of the film. They use a bit of the shaky cam technique to make you feel like you are in on the action that may cause some motion sickness with sensitive people, but isn’t near as bad as the found footage genre. The battle suits they wear are really cool and loads of fun to watch in action against the alien invaders. One of the most important things for an alien invasion film to work is the design of the aliens themselves and here they have created something that is original and awesome to watch in action.
The 3D didn’t offer all that much to the film, with the exception of some of the alien aspects of the action, but little else. This film was a complete surprise but not because it didn’t already look great, but because it offers more than you are likely to expect. Cruise has delivered a great sci-fi action film that takes an old premise and makes it feel new again. The ending is likely to cause some debate, but try not to read too much into it and just let it play out.