Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Dir: Doug Liman
It’s like ‘Groundhog Day’ with guns and aliens!… Need I say more?
Humans are fighting a prolonged and losing war against Mimics, an alien race that have invaded. Sent to the front lines against his will, public affairs officer William Cage ends up caught in the midst of an ambush, and through a rare set of strange circumstances finds himself in a time-loop, restarting before the battle every time he ends up there and is killed. When Cage meets war hero Rita Vrataski, they realise they have something in common, and she takes on the challenge of passing on her considerable knowledge and skills to the unique Cage so they might finally have a chance at winning the war.
Firstly, you need to know that this film has gone by at least 3 different names, firstly being named after the Japanese novel it was based on ‘All You Need Is Kill’, then renamed ‘Edge of Tomorrow’, and finally being re-branded after the more memorable promotional tagline ‘Live, Die, Repeat’, apparently to distance the home video release from the poor box office performance. It’s slightly confusing, but I’ll stick with calling it what the cinema posters did, as I think it’s the best of the three anyway.
I went into this rather dubious, partly as the screenplay was written by Christopher McQuarrie, writer of two of the Jacks last year, Jack Reacher that I didn’t like much at all, and Jack the Giant Slayer that I quite liked. However, I enjoyed this far more than I expected.
The storyline is wonderfully sci-fi, not just stretching reality a little but rather a lot, which is nice to see. I do enjoy it when the science fiction genre is used to full effect, taking up the freedom that the fiction aspect allows for. There are aliens, time-bending, futuristic weaponry and a whole load of confusing by fun mumbo-jumbo, all of which makes just enough sense to hold together but little enough to convince me that I was just along for a fun ride rather than watching something that I needed to focus on and fathom out the deeper workings of.
I have to say, I think Tom Cruse was pretty good in this, he fits the role surprisingly well. Rather than him just showing off his action skills, there’s a large aspect of the character that requires arrogance, confusion, and even a little humour, which end up being a good mix for him. At first Emily Blunt seemed an odd choice to me, she’s not most obvious for an action role, but by the end I thought she was excellent. It’s the not being an obvious choice that is key to why she works so well, as it’s important that her character has transformed thanks to the time-loop, from someone with no military skills into a formidable heroine!
I think this is going to hold up over time as a solid sci-fi action film, the friends I watched it with really enjoyed it too, and I’m looking forward to watching it again. Let’s just hope it doesn’t go the way of many films in this genre, such as ‘Monsters’ or even ‘Starship Troopers’, and end up with a half-cooked and unwanted sequel.