Edge of Tomorrow is akin to an alien invasion version of Groundhog Day. Tom Cruise’s character Bill Cage has to live the same day over and over, but unfortunately for him, the day involves an alien assault where he dies in various painful and frigtening ways. Although it sounds morbid, the concept is dealt with humorously which prevents the repetition from getting boring.
The film is set in the near future 2020 and opens with a display of news broadcasts showing that an alien invasion has recently occured and the aliens known as ‘Mimics’ are slowly taking over parts of the Globe.
Bill Cage (Cruise) begins the film as a Public Relations Officer with no combat experience. He is ordered to film a planned assault on the aliens, and when he declines, he is subsequently arrested and labelled a deserter. His punishment is that he is forced to participate in the combat. Unsurprisingly, given his zero combat experience, he is killed by an alien not long after landing. An alien covers him with what seems to be alien blood before he dies, and we later find this has given him the power to live the same day over and over, providing he dies before the day is over. Although initially Cage does not see value in living that terrifying experience over, he soon meets Sergeant Rita Vrataski on the battle scene who reveals she once held the same power, and persuades him to use his power to their advantage to defeat the aliens once and for all.
It was amusing to see Tom Cruise play someone in a position of weakness after seeing him play so many other characters with incredible combat skills already. In this movie his character initially actively tries to avoid combat and is clearly petrified when placed in the war zone.Comedy is drawn from the fact he can barely even walk in the military suit, and struggles to establish how to remove the safety from his weapon.
The repetition element of the movie that could easily have become tedious, is handled well and humorously as Cage tries to handle his frustration and speed situations up by telling people what they’re about to say before they say it and predicting people’s movements before they know what they’re going to do. On one ocassion, he even tries to delay the inevitable by doing a runner and visiting a pub for a pint. Also, as Cage’s combat skills starts to improve, he starts to survive longer into the battle day, meaning that new elements can be shown.
As he gets better at combat, the action sequences also improve as he goes from not even knowing how to turn the safety off his weapon, to being a hardcore action hero, saving lives and killing aliens.
Edge of Tomorrow is an entertaining blockbuster that delivers on many fronts. The performances are solid, the premise is interesting, and there’s a good amount of humour. It’s a film that’s best observed without thinking through the details too much though, as as soon as you start questioning the logic of what’s happening and the explanations being provided by the characters, it does seem ludicrous. If you can ignore that though, it is a fun, action packed, and entertaining movie.
Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton
Dir: Doug Liman