Edge of Tomorrow
Last year Tom Cruise gave us Oblivion, which ultimately felt like a punch in the stomach. This year, Cruise gives us Edge of Tomorrow, another futuristic sci-fi thriller of the same ilk but with more heart.
The action unfolds in a near future in which an alien race has hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, unbeatable by any military unit in the world. Lt. Col Bill Cage (Cruise) is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously dropped into what amounts to a suicide mission. Killed within in minutes, Cage now finds himself inexplicably thrown into a lime loop— forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again… and again.
But with each battle, Cage becomes able to engage the adversaries with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Blunt). And, as Cage and Rita take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy.
CRUISE NEVER MISSES A STEP
For those action movie lovers out there, Edge of Tomorrow will tick plenty of boxes. For you Tom Cruise fans, he's back on form in a big way. He never misses a step in these action scenes, proving to still be one of the best action heroes around.
Cruise's character development is the glue to this movie's success. At the start he's a coward willing to accept blackmail or even run away from the risks to his life. But as the story develops, Cage becomes the hero, and Cruise helps us buy into that motif. He is a total package when it comes to movies of this nature.
Cruise isn't the only performance worthy of note; Emily Blunt is just as affable. Her presence in this film certainly plays well against Cruise's. She has an heir of 'Sarah Connor' from Terminator within her character's dimensions. Being the skilled actor that she is, Blunt also triumphs in the 'bad-ass' element of her role which also features a nice emotional scope— tying the story as a whole, together.
If there is one downside to Edge of Tomorrow it may lay within the repetition. We are thrown back to Cage's training throughout the film— something the narrative does demand— but at times it may lead you to feel disgruntled when a scene suddenly ends. There isn't anything particularly bad with this technique of storytelling, it just doesn't quite boast the same quality as a 'Groundhog Day' which used this style to meticulous results.
These backward jumps to Cage awakening after he's been killed take us out of some scenes that had been simmering nicely. This was an obvious ploy by the filmmakers— get you invested then suddenly throw you out of your comfort zone. Most times it worked, and worked handsomely. At other moments, it diminished the overall effect of a particular scene.
THE BEST ACTION YOU'LL SEE THIS YEAR
Having said that, Director Doug Liman and editor James Herbert have together produced some incredibly intricate action scenes, some of the best you'll see this year. Herbert's ability to jockey us through fast-paced, dynamically cut action sequences then smash cut us back to the days of Cage's training are perfectly timed and executed every time.
Edge of Tomorrow is better than last year's Oblivion, far better. The disappointment of that previous Cruise film will probably (but don't quote me on this) hurt Edge of Tomorrow's box office numbers because essentially, Cruise is selling the same film to us again. But don't let last year's dud discourage you this time around.