‘Edge of Tomorrow’ will keep you on the edge of your seat. This is a well-crafted and clever film thanks to a talented director, two likable leading actors and a witty screenplay filled with the right balance of suspense and humor. This sci-fi action film is a knock out of the park for Tom Cruise with the help of the talented Emily Blunt. Blunt is a badass in it. She’s gorgeous, quick-witted and looks like she trained hard for the role. She’s actually the real hero of the story and that should appeal to female moviegoers too. Doug Liman is the director and knows a thing or two about action movies. He directed three of the best Bourne Identity films with Matt Damon.
If you’re concerned about the comparisons to the Bill Murray comedy, ‘Groundhog Day,’ it really does a disservice to ‘Edge of Tomorrow.’ Sure, Cruise’s character goes through a time loop where he relives the same battle scene. However, it never gets boring because the pacing is crisp and his experiences are tweaked so it always feels fresh. Since our hero gets to relive the same day over again, he’s able to gain more insight as it shows him from different perspectives. The film is based on a novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and adapted to the screen by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez and John-Henry Butterworth. Kudos to the writers for delivering a fast-paced and witty science fiction extravaganza.
Meet Major William Cage (Cruise) who is a public relations spin doctor for the U.S. Army. When he is flown to London for a special mission, he sits in General Brigham’s (Brendan Gleeson) office. The general orders him to the front lines to partake in a modern Normandy-like landing invasion to battle the aliens. The aliens are known as Mimics and have taken over much of Europe. When Cage tries to weasel out of going to the front lines, the general has him arrested and sent anyway. It’s nice to see Cruise play a flawed character. Cage meets Master Sergeant Farell (Bill Paxton) who relishes his new buck private recruit. Before he knows it, Cage is strapped into bulky combat armor and deployed from London and literally dropped on a French beach that looks like Normandy. Reminiscent of ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ it’s a massacre. The aliens kill everything in their wake including Cage and star soldier Rita Vrataski (Blunt) known as the “Angel of Verdun.” As Cage loops again, her last words to him are "come find me when you wake up.”
Our story is set in motion and it never gets dull. The battle scenes are impressive. However, it’s more than just flashy CGI that makes ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ so good. It’s the chemistry between Cruise and Blunt that make it engaging as they mastermind ways of outwitting the spider-like alien creatures. The pacing is brisk and gives the story a race-against-time feel to it. Film editors James Herbert and Laura Jennings make it interesting every time our hero wakes up with a bit more insight into his predicament. The writers also achieve a textbook example of a perfect character arc from coward to hero. Rita takes Cage under her wing and trains him to be a lean mean fighting machine. At one time, she had the same ability to loop like Cage so she realizes that he is the key to defeating the aliens. The best scenes of the film are between Cruise and Blunt. There’s even a poignant farmhouse scene where Cage and Rita take a breather from the chaos outside to share a moment of admiration for each other.
There are moments of humor thrown into the story too. As Cage relives his death again and again, it buys them time to construct a plan to defeat the aliens. When they encounter a roadblock, Rita has to sometimes take measures into her own hands and shoot Cage with a pistol to kickstart the loop again. These scenes are darkly funny and treated as a learning curve. ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is one of Cruise’s best performances in a while and you can tell he has fun with doing many of his own stunts in the action sequences. The real surprise is Emily Blunt. She’s terrific as a modern-day female warrior. Check out the official trailer http://youtu.be/yUmSVcttXnI.