Edge of Tom Cruise

Live. Die. Repeat. Live. Die. Repeat. Live. Die. Repeat. You get the idea.

Edge of Tomorrow is the newest vanity project from Tom Cruise. It’s based on the bizarrely titled Japanese novel All You Need is Kill. With a Scientologist lead actor, a sci-fi premise, Japanese source material, and a less than stellar trailer, this had all the makings of a disaster. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a disaster. Even more surprising, Edge of Tomorrow was pretty damn good.

I can’t say how faithful the film is to the source material, but it doesn’t really matter. The movie needs to be able to stand on its own in order to be successful. Fortunately, the story put forth by the filmmakers was compelling. Cruise plays Major William Cage, the military’s slimy PR guy who has never once stepped on the battlefield. He’s a weasel, for sure, and Cruise plays him with a smarmy attitude. We immediately dislike him, and we should, since he’s such a jerk. Cruise actually plays against type here, as a cowardly weakling who isn’t immediately the savior of the human race. His playing against type is a huge advantage for the movie, because if he played his usual hero-type, the movie would have fallen flat on its face.

Cruise gets demoted for giving a lot of attitude to an even slimier General, and he gets sent to the front of the war. Cruise begs and pleads to be saved, but his cries fall on deaf ears. His Kentuckian Sergeant, played brilliantly with an insane amount of charm by Bill Paxton, cares little for him, and knows he’s going to die. Paxton is a cipher for the audience. The audience cares little for Cruise’s character, and actually root for this self-absorbed jerk to die. The movie is meta in a sense, in that the world at large lost respect for Cruise, and their apathy has killed several of his movies. Once the battle begins, Cruise dies pretty quickly.

The End. Kind of short, only a 20 minute movie, huh?

“I’m here to steal the show.”

Oh wait, there’s more.

Cruise wakes up shortly after dying, on the day before the battle. What happens next is Cruise is sent into a whirlwind of repetition, reliving the same day over and over again, just like Groundhog Day. Only, this is the PTSD version because he is forced into the same battle over and over again, watching fellow soldiers die gruesomely a million times over. Fortunately, the movie gives an explanation for why Cruise is stuck in a time loop.

Earth was invaded by aliens called Mimics. They kind of look like robotic squids, like the Sentinels in The Matrix. The Mimics have been trouncing the Humans in an incredibly lopsided war. The battle we see is humanity’s last ditch effort to turn the tide. If the battle is successful, the war could be won, if it is lost, Earth is finished. We later learn that the reason the Mimics have been decimating the Humans is because they have the ability to control time. Each time Humans get an advantage, Mimics reset the clock and thwart us. So, during this massive battle, Cruise inadvertently steals this power from the Mimics, and now he gets to live the same day over and over again.

This is the meat of the film. Cruise gets sent in time and time again, learning from his mistakes and getting better at surviving the battle. Since it’s the same thing every time, he’s able to get a little farther each time before dying. It’s exactly like a video game in that sense. His deaths and respawns are similar to any number of first person shooter games. There’s also a lot of humor in watching him die a million times in various ways, some of which are morbidly funny. Since Cruise gets to live the same day over and over again, he gets more skilled at combat, knows where the enemies are going to be, and becomes an awesome soldier.

She’s living the dream.

The smarmy, jerky, cowardly Cruise from the beginning of the film is eventually turned into a skilled hero. Don’t roll your eyes, because it’s done in a way that makes sense given the rules of the movie. Of course, Cruise wasn’t going to stay a jackass for the entire film, he is the main character, after all. It was inevitable that he was going to become the savior of humanity. Through the course of events, his character growth is believable and engaging.

Helping Cruise along is Emily Blunt, playing Sergeant Rita Vrataski, nicknamed the “Full Metal Bitch.” It turns out that she used to have Cruise’s power in a previous battle (the only battle the Humans ever won), but she lost it along the way. She helps to explain to Cruise, and in turn the audience, exactly what is going on. Having a partner in the madness was a good move for the story. Usually, these kinds of stories only include one character, and that could get boring. But by having a sidekick, there is someone else to help carry the film.

Cruise and Blunt both turn in great performances. Blunt is a stoic badass, and every bit believable as the hardened, jaded Full Metal Bitch. Cruise’s character arc has already been mentioned, and his ability to portray these changes is actually a testament to his ability as an actor. For too long he lazily played superheroes, and it was a real treat to actually watch him play a human character who grows as a person, despite the sci-fi premise behind it. Does this mean audiences will learn to love Cruise again after seeing this movie? Eh, probably not, but it was a good try.

“Do you think they’ll see us behind this grass?”

The directing was also excellent. The film was helmed by Doug Liman, who also directed The Bourne Identity. Thankfully, there’s no shaky-cam here. The scenes are well directed, with a lot of punch, especially the battle scenes and the videogame-like respawns. Liman manages to capture all the right notes in every scene, allowing the actors to deliver the necessary humor and drama.

Edge of Tomorrow is a great movie that demands to be seen. Sure, the Groundhog Day premise has been done before, but this film manages to put a fresh spin on the idea. It has solid performances, a cool story, and great directing. You should definitely check it out. And even if you hate Tom Cruise, well, if you see this movie, you get to watch him die over and over again. You can’t lose!

Verdict: Good

20 Responses to “Edge of Tom Cruise”

  1. June 22, 2014 at 1:42 am

    So….. NOT shitty then? 😉 Glad you liked it. My own review comes up in a few weeks (I’m a bit behind)…. hope you enjoy reading that one!

  2. 3 lokifire
    June 23, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Dammit, you’re making me want to see this movie, and I HATE Tom Cruise. Ever since he was a dick to one of my former coworkers when he filmed a movie here. (Not specifically because he was a dick to my former coworker, but my hatred began around that time….)

    • June 24, 2014 at 10:34 am

      I’m sure this movie won’t change your opinion of him. However, you would do yourself a huge disservice to skip this movie because he’s in it. It’s a great sci-if movie. You should watch it and revel in his many deaths.

  3. June 23, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    What did you think of the armor designs?

    Can’t comment much, since I pretty much agree with everything on the review.

  4. June 27, 2014 at 8:08 am

    See, Tom Cruise is just a bit of a weirdo. But, he’s done some GOOD films. A lot of which I’m a fan of. An awful lot.

    Not yet checked this out, but your positive review does make me want to push the OH and spend the entire weekend in the cinema catching up on everything we haven’t seen yet! Which is far too much.

  5. June 29, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Nice review, i like this movie and the detailing of edge of tomorrow is also good……

  6. 11 Squiggsquasher
    June 29, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Looking at the Wikipedia article for All You Need Is Kill, it seems they at least kept the story very true to the original light novel. Disappointed that they totally Westernized it and renamed it though- can’t we have a Hollywood adaptation of a foreign work that DOESN’T completely Americanize everything? Even the name seems awfully generic- “Edge of Tomorrow” sounds rather dull and flat next to the utterly bizarre but extremely catchy original title.

    Eh, I dunno. Whitewashing annoys me.

    • 12 Squiggsquasher
      June 29, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Also seems that basically every reviewer on the internet utterly failed to mention the work it was based on.

  7. 13 The Otaku Judge
    August 23, 2014 at 4:22 am

    Sounds good. The whole going back in time thing reminds me a bit of Source Code.

  8. 15 g
    August 23, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Movie did a really good job of making something well out of a book that was basically halo fanfiction. To be fair though the movie only has small things similar with the book. Still better than source code

  9. December 20, 2015 at 1:46 am

    Saw this on the store shelf. Remembered Brik said it was good. Watched it. Brik is right.
    There is *some* shaky cam, but at least there wasn’t a gratuitous amount.

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June 2014


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