Now that we’re into blockbuster season, the Cruiser is back with another action packed sci-fi adventure. Adapted from Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel All You Need is Kill, Doug Liman directs ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ which is not only big, but clever as well. Tom Cruise stars as military media man, Major William Cage who has rallied troops to battle against an alien invasion that is quickly spreading across Europe. As face of the campaign against a deadly threat to the human race, he is as confident and cocky as ever. However, when he is forced into the front-line, he is less than enthused and relies on the help of super-soldier Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) to save the world, but most importantly to save his own skin.
What sets the film aside from the run-of-the-mill popcorn is the time-travel elements that see William Cage effectively ‘reset the day’ each time he loses his life in the heat of battle. As a result, it becomes like watching somebody play a video game, desperately trying to reach an unattainable checkpoint…but a lot more fun. It doesn’t explain itself all too well, so there are evident plot-holes, but there is also entertainment, and a surprising amount of humour in watching Tom Cruise die over and over again. The repetitive nature of the story never gets boring and is more long lasting that any of the glossy special effects. I found the action sequences to be rather frenetic and distracting, with spider-like creatures known as mimics whizzing about the screen like moths around a light. The 3D adds very little to the experience, but the characters and their complex companionship hold it together.
In recent years, I have been known to avoid the work of Tom Cruise, as I feel that with any role he takes on, I struggle to invest in his characters. I can’t take him seriously as the all-conquering hero. But with Edge of Tomorrow, his character is initially far from a hero. He is smug on the outside, cowardly on the inside which is an interesting turn to see Cruise pull off, and he does it very well. He links with Emily Blunt believably, as she plays a strong willed warrior, not dissimilar to her powerhouse part in Looper. They share moments that are genuinely funny as she prepares him for his next attempt at overturning the alien army. Of course, there is a Hollywood romance aspect involved but it is handled well without being overdone.
Edge of Tomorrow is a smart, inventive summer flick that showcases two stars at the top of their game. With obvious flavours of Groundhog Day, it still manages an aura of originality as the majority of the film is contained within a tight time-frame creatively played through continually, before stretching further a field for an expansive finale. The computer game feel lends an odd sense of ownership over the lead, and though it may be frustrating at times to watch him fail, you urge him to pick himself up and give it another go, improving all the time.