"Come find me when you wake up!"
With the releases of Days of Future Past, Godzilla, and now Edge of Tomorrow, I have to admit this Blockbuster season has delivered more than what I was expecting. Many have claimed this film has put Tom Cruise back on top, but I couldn't necessarily make that claim considering I have enjoyed all his latest movies (Oblivion, Jack Reacher, and Ghost Protocol), but I will admit this was another great performance. This time he gets to play a very different character, one who is kind of a wuss and who is forced to train really hard to become a soldier. Emily Blunt is also great as her sidekick and delivers yet another strong and memorable performance. She also has an impressive filmography in a wide range of genres. It is impossible to avoid comparisons with Groundhog Day considering the premise of this film, and that is one film that is hard to live up to, but Edge of Tomorrow takes that clever premise and mixes it with sci-fi action perfectly. This is one of those rare action movies you won't want to miss on the big screen, and one of the few alien invasion movies that truly work. I can't think of a more entertaining experience when it comes to a clever sci-fi film and unfortunately there haven't been many over the past few years, but Edge of Tomorrow has come to save the genre. Director, Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr and Mrs. Smith), has made an action packed film with a clever and funny script.
The script was adapted by Christopher McQuarrie (Academy award winner for The Usual Suspects) and Jez Butterworth from the Japanese novel "All You Need is Kill" by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. The story is set in the near future after an alien invasion has taken place across Europe. All military efforts against these aliens referred to as Mimics have been useless as they have nearly destroyed the entire continent. Fortunately for the humans, a recent victory in Verdun through new mechanized suits worn by the soldiers has given them new hope. A UK Special Forces Soldier named Sgt. Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) was credited for killing hundreds of Mimics that day and has become the new hero. Taking advantage of this momentum, the Commander of the Western allies, General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson), plans a final surprise attack in enemy territory. He calls for Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) of the US Army to provide coverage for the media with the first wave of soldiers landing on the beach of France. Of course Cage tries to refuse the order considering he has no experience in the field and is only a PR officer trying to sell these mechanized suits to the army. The General gives him no options and forces him to go to the military base where Sgt. Farrell (Bill Paxton) introduces him to the J-Squad, who are deployed with him to the beach the next morning. Cage is a nervous wreck and the aliens aren't surprised by the invasion, so it turns out to be a suicide mission. Before getting killed, Cage manages to kill a giant blue Mimic and is covered by its blood. In the very next scene we see Cage waking up at the same military base being introduced once again to the J-Squad with the exact events of the past day repeating themselves. He gets stuck in a sort of a time loop where each time he is sent to fight at the beach and after getting killed he wakes up once again and has to repeat the mission with the only difference that he becomes more and more skilled.
Edge of Tomorrow may not have an original premise, but it is one that is very difficult to pull off. Groundhog Day proved to execute it perfectly, but many films after it have failed considering the story can grow a bit repetitive and tiresome. It can also be very constricting and you also lose that sense of suspense considering you know that if Cage gets killed he can relive the day again. It is kind of like a video game where you know you have millions of lives and each time you die you get to repeat the game with knowledge of what is going to happen next. However Tom Cruise manages to keep us engaged with the outcome of his character and the premise is explained pretty well. There is a reason as to why he has to relive each day and we find out during the midpoint of the film. I loved the way in which the story was told as we slowly get to learn more about the plot and similarly to a video game we discover new levels the more we move on. Edge of Tomorrow doesn't just rely on CGI and cool looking action sequences like most action films where everything blows up, this time we get a clever script to accompany the excellent action scenes and some fine performances with well developed characters. This is one sci-fi thriller you won't want to miss.