People often complain about the lack of original blockbusters, but not enough people saw Edge of Tomorrow at the cinema to make it the success it deserved to be.
What’s it about? Set in a near future where an alien race has launched an assault on Earth, Tom Cruise stars as Major William Cage, a military spin man who hasn’t seen the frontline. He gets dropped into the warzone on a mission he has no hope of surviving. And he dies. And he lives. And he dies. Live, Die, Repeat.
He lives out the same battle over and over again, but each time trying different things, improving his skills, getting that little bit closer to defeating the aliens. Helping his cause is warrior Rita Vrataski, played by Emily Blunt.
Verdict: The prospect of a Tom Cruise sci-fi film may not fill everybody with excitement, but this film shows that, with a great concept, good director and the right balance between action and comedy, it can be something special.
Teaming up with director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), Cruise is energetic and, crucially, likeable in this sci-fi action blockbuster. Whatever people say about him, and some criticisms are valid, he’s a real movie star with great charisma and great screen presence.
Based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel, All You Need Is Kill, Edge of Tomorrow seems to be undergoing something of an identity crisis judging by the packaging which displays the tagline ‘Live. Die. Repeat’ far larger than the film’s actual title – perhaps the film’s title is being blamed for it not striking box office gold.
Edge of Tomorrow feels fresh and original, despite time-loops being a staple of Hollywood movies for years, in many genres. This puts a new spin on the technique, with the right amount of Groundhog Day-style humour to match the excellent visuals and battle sequences. The CGI-heavy alien foes, called ‘Mimics’ are fierce enemies and don’t take long to finish people off – sure to scare younger members of the audience. In fact, it’s a film that isn’t afraid to be quite shocking and brutal at times, but it’s still a film that is very funny.
Emily Blunt’s character is an interesting one. Sadly far from a pre-requisite in action blockbusters, a strong female character is still something of a rarity in these films. Blunt is great as Vratalski, built up even before we meet her as a great warrior. Initially she lives up to this and the pairing of her with Cruise works really well in their initial scenes, but Vratalski doesn’t quite live up to her billing as the film continues and as their dynamic changes.
It’s the first two thirds of Edge of Tomorrow that really jump out and make it a really enjoyable, fun, blockbuster. The ending may be slightly polarizing, but by that point the film has you hooked and on board with wherever it chooses to go.
As well as Cruise and Blunt, the rest of the cast provide suitable support. Brendan Gleeson stars as the gruff General who forces Cage to war, as well as appearing on BBC news clips that introduce us to the war at the beginning of the film. Noah Taylor (Game of Thrones) is really fun as somebody who helps them on their quest, and they’re joined by, among others, Bill Paxton, Jonas Armstrong and Tony Way.
Extras: Special features include a nice glimpse behind the exosuits and Mimics, including interviews with Cruise, Blunt and Liman – and Cruise showing some impressive dedication. As is often the case with effects-heavy films, it’s fascinating to see just how they created those landscapes and performed those stunts. There are also deleted scenes and a detailed spotlight on Liman.
Final Words: Tom Cruise is great in this clever sci-fi action movie that is actually really funny too. The ending is a bit of a weird one, but until then it’s a well-scripted, beautiful-looking movie. Despite clearly showing some influences, feels fresh and original in a sea of sequels. One of the very best blockbusters of the year.
Edge of Tomorrow is out now on BluRay and DVD.