Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

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Real action heroes don't wear helmets.
Real action heroes don’t wear helmets.

Twitter Plot Summary: Humanity is on the brink of extinction thanks to alien invaders. Tom Cruise finds he’s the one to stop them.

Five Point Summary:

1. Cowardly Tom Cruise.
2. Resurrected Tom Cruise.
3. Emily Blunt.
4. Weary Tom Cruise.
5. Full circle Tom Cruise.

It might be a total coincidence that Edge of Tomorrow received its UK cinema release around the same time as the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France, but the parallels are apparent to anybody with half a brain. The only difference compared to the history books is that here an asteroid crashes in Germany and unleashes an alien invasion that soon dominates all of mainland Europe. From their staging grounds in the UK, a task force of soldiers, assisted by some funky mechanical power suits, storm the beaches in an attempt at taking down the evil menace once and for all. Sound familiar?

Tom Cruise is Cage, a Major in the US Army and responsible for media relations. Suffice to say he’s not a combat soldier (he signed up with the media unit to avoid going into combat), and subsequently reacts badly when a British general, played with smug levels of repressed glee by Brendan Gleeson, ropes him into being on the beaches for the initial landing. After dying quite quickly in the initial attack, but not before being doused in alien blood, Cage reawakens 24 hours previously and from this point on gets to relive the same day over and over again until he either bleeds out or manages to stop the invasion. The Groundhog Day format, as it has since become known, can work brilliantly when used as an exploration of a character’s life or personality. Doug Liman manages to balance this out in Edge of Tomorrow, with the repetition not becoming dull or laboured.

The cos-play was really starting to get out of hand.
The cos-play was really starting to get out of hand.

His transformation from self-centred coward to what amounts to a military genius is played nicely, although he never truly loses his self-centred attitude, he just gets better at not dying. Those who are not fans of Tom Cruise will find much joy in seeing him blasted in the face and blown up time and time again.

There’s great fun to be had with Bill Paxton’s casting as an army drill sergeant, no doubt a call-back to his role in Aliens. His performance is spot on and deserves to be in more films, military themed or otherwise. Emily Blunt meanwhile makes her mark as Rita, “The Angel of Verdun” who resembles a female version of Cloud from Final Fantasy VII with her massive sword and military gear. Bearing in mind she’s rarely in action roles, she holds her own and really does look the part.

The final act does feel a little odd, as though it’s been tacked on from another film, and the ending is a little suspect with a touch of Brazil’s “Love Conquers All” ending to it, but this aside Edge of Tomorrow remains an effective science fiction story and proves that Doug Liman still has the ability to helm a film on par with The Bourne Identity. But however you look at it, and no matter how good the film ultimately turned out to be, “All You Need Is Kill” is still a better title.

Score: 4/5

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