Meet the new breed of science fiction action flicks. The computer effects of Edge of Tomorrow are glorious. Never has an exoskeleton looked so good and so smooth and the film packs so much awesome into a running time that comes in under 2 hours. And this doesn’t come due to a lack of plot. Yes, at times it can be predictable to make things neat, but for the most part, this script is well though out.
Tom Cruise plays bravado-figurehead Cage, a man who makes it known that he is not a fighter. So who is? The fighting duty in which the world fights behind is Rita, played by the never-hotter Emily Blunt (damn you John Krasinski), or better known as “full metal bitch.” This duo is so refreshing for a few reasons. First off, it is nice for once to have a movie where a woman is the main kick-butt person. Emily Blunt plays the tough chick so well, but also makes playing sexy in a giant metal suit look easy. She even has jokes, as she asks Cage, “Do I have anything on my face?” after Cage hesitates to talk to her. As a matter of fact, yes, you do have something on your face, it’s some sort of BEAUTIFUL. The tandem’s chemistry is remarkably great (why should I be shocked?). Cruise always plays a great action star, as he can run, and run, and, well, run, and be funny too. He plays movie-star as good as anyone. And Blunt, who is great in another stellar science fiction film called Looper, is equally as great in this one as well. She gets more play in this one and she shines. Also, her accent is adorable.
In this futuristic world, Cruise and Blunt fight mimics and in Cruise’s first escapade onto the beach, he runs into an alpha, which he is able to kill in a suicide stunt. This gives him the power to reset the day each time he dies and the film literally becomes the Groundhog Day of movies, except with much less Bill Murray. The writers of Edge of Tomorrow (Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth adapted Hiroshi Sakurazaka novel “A You Need Is Kill”) do a great job in adding in some humor to the constant annoyance of the dying that Cruise goes through. My favorite has to be when he’s running across the beach and gets smashed by a truck. A close runner-up is the time he tries to roll under a truck and gets smushed. And these scenes are directed with a great sense of vigor, only adding to the frenetic pace of the film.
“Through greatness and discipline, we are masters of our own faith.” Bill Paxton’s Sergeant Farell says that line to Cruise when he meets his new team, J-squad, and is pretty much a great way to sum up the emotion of the film (P.S. Paxton is fantastic as the bizarre and off-beat army dude). Cruise dies again, and again, and again, and again, but each time he gets better and gains valuable experience. Kind of like a video game that is so hard, where you keep dying and end up trying different ways to complete the mission. Yeah, like that. Then there’s the part where you get further than you’ve went before and you’re afraid to die. This is everyone watching the movie once Cruise loses the power to reset the day. Like a cat whose run out of lives, Cruise has to finish his mission with Blunt and NO MORE REDOS. Game on.
The end sequence is an exquisite display of science fiction filmmaking, as it captures the lost humanity on earth, coupled with the few men and women who are fighting to take back the day. It is adrenaline fueled and packs a wallop, down to the very last moment.
But we know how it ends: the good guys win. Okay, that’s predicatble. but like I said, the writing for this film is solid. They are able to build a relationship between Cruise and Blunt, even though they never spend more than a day together and Cruise has to reintroduce all of these secrets Blunt has given out over the numerous attempts. And the final moment between the two, where Blunt asks, “Do I have something on my face?” one last time, Cruise’s only response is a teary eyed smile. Cruise flexing the acting muscles here. That’s one advantage to casting the smaller Cruise in your action film, as opposed to Stallone or Schwarzenneger, he can act.
On the whole, Edge of Tomorrow is a worthy entry into the science fiction genre. It homages to some, but twists it in a new way. It also opens up discussions on how the world they created works, which is vital for any science fiction film. There were different ways this film could have ended, as the power to reset the day could be transferred to someone else, or, gulp, the omega resets the day before it loses. It is that ability to create a new and interesting world which makes the science fiction genre the best genre for film and a large reason this film is successful.