Friday, June 13, 2014

Review 272: "Edge of Tomorrow"

Live. Die. Repeat.
Live. Die. Repeat.
Live. Die. Repeat.

All You Need Is Film

      Edge of Tomorrow is a 2014 sci-fi action film that is based on the Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiro Sakurazaka. The film is directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) and is written by Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher) and by Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth (Get On Up). The film follows Cage (Tom Cruise), a combat-inexperienced military officer forced by General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) to fight in a major battle between humans and an invading alien species known as Mimics. While fighting, he accidentally taps into the aliens' ability to travel back in time when they die. Using this ability, Cage teams up with war hero Rite (Emily Blunt), who went through the same thing he did, in order master fighting the aliens and stopping them once and for all, all by dying over and over again.

Future world cups look both bleak and awesome.
Killing Cruise

      This film might be one of the few times having an asshole for a main character proved to be a smart move. Edge of Tomorrow is a great movie and a lot of that can be placed on Tom Cruise's shoulders. Cruise is just as confident, cocky and cool s he always his, but here, it feels unearned at first as a jerk of a character who specifically states that he reports on the war so he doesn't have to fight. He's actually the kind of person you don't mind seeing die, over and over again. But then, without really changing his performance, the film builds a pretty damn good arc as Cruise slowly gets better and better as he essentially respawns and starts the level over. In many ways, this is the closest we'll ever get to a Super Meat Boy movie. And it works well. Cage is a strong character and Cruise plays him as well as he always does. Also doing great work here is Blunt. I mean, Emily Blunt is great in everything she's in, but here is literally kick-ass, and yet never comes off as the emotionless, personality-less action heroine many movies mistake for strong female characters. She's easily the best part of the movie to the point where I'd be up for a prequel about here character. Maybe? No? Just sayin'...

The End is Die

      The film backs up it's strong performances and characters is some solid action. You really do get a cool sense of Cage getting better and better in the battle and the fight scenes are nicely visible and coherent. The effects work great, especially on the robotic suits the characters wear, though nothing too great is done with them. The Mimics are pretty lame though. Their design is pretty much a mess and they never mimic anything outside of some dirt, so a little more with them woulda been nice. In a prequel maybe? Just sayin'. Overall, the film hits the ground running and never really lets up. Something's always happening and the film fills scenes with enough cool visuals, strong humor and fun that there really is never a boring moment onscreen. However, the film isn't perfect. Mostly because the film's ending kinda sucks. I won't give it away, but the film wraps up in a way that clashes with the tone of the rest of the film and undercuts the actions of the characters in the rest of the film. Had the film should've ended about 5 minutes earlier and we would have had a perfect score here. But, unfortunately, the ending goes on and I was left with a bad taste in my mouth afterwards.

Cool guys don't look at robotic exoskeletons.
The Verdict

      Edge of Tomorrow might not be perfect, but is it pretty damn great. The characters are great, backed by strong performances by Cruise and especially Blunt. The action is well-done with some great effects and some funny moments to keep the film from getting too dark. However, the film is slightly let down by some weak villains and an ending that doesn't fit with the rest of the film. Overall though, this is the best film for Cruise in years. Edge of Tomorrow gets 5 and a half stars out of 6.

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