Tom Cruise Has Still Got It In EDGE OF TOMORROW – Movie Review
Has anyone racked up as impressive a resume as Tom Cruise over the years? His personal antics aside, the man’s been killing it in Hollywood for over 30 years. From Taps to Mission: Impossible, Cruise has spent the majority of his life as the biggest movie star in the world. Last year’s Oblivion wasn’t so hot, but Cruise is back in action with the excellent Edge of Tomorrow.
William Cage (Cruise) is a PR guy for the military, talking to the media about victories against the Mimics, an alien race that look as if Silly String and a Slinky had an affair. What he doesn’t know is they have the ability to reset the day, giving them the chance to turn any battle in their favor and destroy humanity. A former advertising guru, Cage has never seen a day of combat. When he’s ordered to report to the front line to take part in a massive invasion of Europe, he runs. He’s not a fighter.
Cage awakes, in handcuffs, on a military base the day before the invasion. Treated like a deserter, nobody helps him with his exo-skeleton, and dies within five minutes of the attack in pretty nasty fashion. But something weird happens. After dying, he wakes up in handcuffs again. Just like the Mimics (and Bill Murray), he repeats the invasion. Each day, he gets a little better at fighting, but it’s not until he meets Rita Vrataski (Emily Blount, looking ripped) that Cage begins to understand why this is happening to him.
Repeating the same day Groundhog Day style can get tedious, but Director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) and screenwriters Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher), Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth (Liman’s underrated Fair Game) are smart enough to gloss over the more repetitive parts of Cage’s time, and while a few scenes are in the same place, something new and different happens every time, keeping everything fresh.
Based on the novel All You Need is Kill, Edge of Tomorrow may be the ultimate Tom Cruise vehicle. It offers something for everyone. There’s Cruise, the leading man action star. Cruise, the funny guy. Cruise even goes against type as the cowardly Cage. The same guy who’ll hang on the side of the world’s tallest building is now running away from a fight? Hilarious. Any Cruise haters out there are also in for a treat as his character dies over and over, and sometimes it’s hilarious.
Liman, whose last studio effort was the putrid Jumper, plays it fast and cool with the camera, even shooting part of Edge like an old school war film, with the invasion bearing a striking resemblance to D-Day in look, feel and location. The entire film has a quiet confidence that lightens up the end of the world stuff going on in the movie, a welcome change from the “darkness” that’s overtaken most big budget action films these days.
Edge of Tomorrow isn’t without its flaws. A couple scenes feel like remnants of a larger story, and why General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) is so hell-bent on sending Cage into battle is never explained. The Mimics, at least in 3-D, look a little blurry. These are minor details, as Liman and Cruise have delivered a fun, smart sci-fi actioner that’s better than Cruise’s last alien film, War of the Worlds.