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Edge of Tomorrow: Tom Cruise vs. Bill Murray

Edge of Tomorrow

Rating:
Star5
Star
Star
Star
Star

Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland

Live, Die, Repeat
Live, Die, Repeat
Image from Warner Bros.

Markus Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material

Now playing at Century 20 Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California:

At first I thought maybe (just maybe) being an outspoken mouthpiece for the Scientology movement predisposes an actor to star in high caliber sci-fi films, but I think John Travolta would have something to say about that.

Synopsis: When an alien race attacks Earth, a cowardly military officer (Tom Cruise) is put on the front line in order to participate in a futuristic end-of-days, Normandy-esque battle. And to top it off, after he dies on the battlefield (not a spoiler) he soon discovers that he is somehow being forced to live that same day over and over again; which by default, forces him to find a way out of his Twilight Zone worthy predicament. Basically, “Edge of Tomorrow” is an action genre version of “Groundhog Day”, set in a war-torn future.

Side Note: Whatever you think of the man and his religious beliefs, Tom Cruise does know his way around a Hollywood action blockbuster.

The most surprisingly pleasant aspect about “Edge of Tomorrow” has to be the dark humor throughout. In fact, with all the humor this film has to offer and a plot which loosely mimics one of Bill Murray’s most beloved comedies, some may question the idea to cast Cruise as the lead. Yet, those who saw “Tropic Thunder” know that he has a sense of humor. And the fact that he displays a more than competent level of comedic timing, without coming off as annoying, desperate or forced, does deserve kudos.

But Cruise’s performance isn’t the main reason as to why “Edge of Tomorrow” works as well as it does. Some stand-out supporting work from Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton (who nearly steals the show at times) and the smartly constructed script from Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth, help as well. But above all, it’s the fantastic direction from Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith) which allows “Edge of Tomorrow” to be far better than it had any right to be. In fact, he single-handedly transforms the repetitive nature of the story structure, which (in lesser hands) could have come off as excruciatingly boring, into something that is edge-of-your-seat entertainment.

Final Thought: Even though the third Act sees a more generic Mission Impossible, save the world Tom Cruise, as the film becomes more reliant on the action aspect rather than creative storytelling, and the plot inevitably stumbles into a sci-fi pitfall sequence drowning in over-complex explanation, AND the ending doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, at the end of the day, none of that matters. And do you know why? Because, as a whole “Edge of Tomorrow” is supremely entertaining on every level, with an originality which will assuredly play to today’s audiences the same way “Groundhog Day” played to audiences in 1993.

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