Edge of Tomorrow
In a summer that will inevitably contain some truly awful blockbusters that excel at the box office, it’s a shame that Edge of Tomorrow, a witty expedition as well oiled as the machines it features, is doing so not-amazingly in ticket sales. Those lucky enough to see it can attest for its unwavering entertainment value in the form of time travel and robot-verses-demon squid battles, because it’s that kind of movie, and a huge success at it.
In 2014’s iteration of standard Tom Cruise action fanfare, Cruise plays Major William Cage, who is forced to take up combat in the human’s war against invading aliens called Mimics despite not actually being a soldier, thanks to the vague illogic of plot convenience. (Though, it is refreshing to see Cruise as someone other than the guy-in-charge for once). Stripped of his rank, Cage finds himself literally flung into a doomsday battle against the Mimics on the beach, equipped with a highly destructive exoskeleton he spent the previous day not learning how to operate. The humans are taking a slaughtering, except for propaganda figurehead Seargent Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), complete with her tentacle-lopping sword – oh wait, she just melted. And Cage did too, realistically, after a scrimmage with a large blue Mimic known as an Alpha.
The screen doesn’t fade to black just yet, and Cage wakes up in the same spot he woke up in the day before, just before his not-training begins. Frantic, Cage lives the exact day over – and dies on the beach once again. And again the next day, always retaining his memories of the day before. This is a little odd, Cage thinks, and contacts Vrataski about these concerns after she realizes what’s happening to him.
Killing the Alpha, it turns out, has given him the ability to reset each day upon his death and sense when he is close to the Omega Mimic, which, once killed, will shut down all the Mimics and end the war. Vrataski trains Cage each day so he can get farther along the beach and closer to the Omega, casually shooting him in the head each time he messes up (I wonder how she explained those murders to potential witnesses?). Blunt has an appealing seriousness that Cruise’s natural buoyancy bounces off neatly. They’re a fun duo to watch.
The story glides with a smoothness that never gets boring despite its potentially repetitive nature. Unfortunately, it feels like director Doug Liman (Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) embarked without a destination in mind, enjoying the fun premise more than focusing on the film’s ending, which is a letdown in terms of action and plot. It tarnishes the excitement exiting the theater, despite the preceding 100-minute joyride.
It’s verging on being a great sci-fi action, however, and the vast majority works. By majority, I mean everything except the ending and, apparently, advertising. I wonder if they wish they could reset to a smaller budget.