Recycling ideas is nothing new in telling stories. Occasionally, one is done so well, it becomes a bit of a sacred cow. The idea of reliving the same day over was the premise for Groundhog Day, something Bill Murray and Harold Ramis nailed in 1993. While I’m sure there’s been other movies that employed the mechanic, none have been as high-profile as Tom Cruise’s new action flick, Edge of Tomorrow. Does this deliver or is it only a flash in the pan?
The concept is simple, Major Cage (Cruise) is busted down to Private after refusing orders to accompany the forces invading Normandy, France, the next day. The invasion is unsuccessful. Cage dies, only to wake up the day before where he was dumped after his insubordination. The cycle repeats until he meets and saves the hero soldier, Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt). During one encounter, she orders him to find her when he wakes up, having an awareness of what he’s experiencing. Then she begins to train him how to fight, hoping to avoid the slaughter.
Again, this is a great concept that has an interesting explanation here. While this is a somewhat serious action flick, there’s enough light-heartedness and humor in the first two acts, making the movie enjoyable. Cage’s death montage was one of the high points, as was Rita’s no-nonsense demeanor, and her frequent resort to resetting. I can count on one hand the number of Tom Cruise movies I enjoy, as I have a bit of disdain for the actor. This is easily included on that list. While there were many that could have played the role, his unique style fits the character. Emily Blunt however, was perfectly cast. I don’t think she cracked a smile once, but that’s not a bad thing. Rita was as serious as a heart attack, and Blunt portrayed it perfectly.
The design of the movie certainly spoke to my fanboy sensibilities. All around, this felt like a well constructed video game, with several ideas culled from popular titles like Resistance: Fall of Man and Gears of War. Honestly, with a little tweaking, this could have been the feature film for several games. Rita seemed like an anime character, particularly in that she was the only soldier to carry a sword. And what do you know, the film is based on a manga called All You Need is Kill. Honestly, I think that’s the biggest benefit of the film. The anime influences, while noticeable to me, were transformed in such a way to appeal to a mass audience. In all fairness, the manga predates the games I mentioned.
The action was well choreographed and used smartly with the time mechanic. Cruise did a good job of looking completely inexperienced using his mech suit, and more adept as the movie progressed. My biggest complaint with the suit was the battery. Anyone with a cell phone could surmise for the size of the suits vs the batteries they carried, they’d only have about 3 minutes of power. Alas, I am willing to suspend my disbelief, as it’s a minor quibble.
What didn’t work — the only real sour note of the film — was the ending. BEGIN SPOILERS! I can think of two possible outcomes that would have been better, either Cage and Rita both die saving the world, or since Cage took the Omega’s blood and was sent back farther, he’s now stuck in an infinite loop where neither side wins. I understand wanting a happy ending, but this wrapped up too neatly. He’s sent back to before he’s busted down, and the aliens died? Too clean. END SPOILERS!
One minor contrivance was bothersome, as well. Rita explained that they couldn’t tell anyone about their powers because no one would believe them. We’re fighting aliens! I’d believe in a sharknado at that point.
Edge of Tomorrow is a fun movie, and one that I’ll certainly watch again. The solid mix of action and comedy easily made it an entertaining experience that I recommend to anyone. Though the ending was a little too clean, the journey far outweighs the destination.
How many chuckles did you have? Think Rita was too serious? Comment below!
Tony writes for his own site, thecredhulk.com, about comics, video games, movies, TV and more, six days a week. You can follow his updates on Facebook or Twitter. Drop by and tell ’em hi.
How many apple crates did they go through to make Cruise look taller than Blunt?