By: Bryan Montgomery
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Over recent years, Tom Cruise has firmly planted himself in the realm of sci-fi actioners. Throw in the surprisingly successful Oblivion in with the likes of Jack Reacher, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol among other recent action hits and we are seeing the slow but steady resurgence of the superstar’s career. His latest effort comes in the form of Edge of Tomorrow (EOT), an adaptation of the Japanese novel All You Need is Kill. EOT soars off the screen with one of the hardest-hitting, fast-paced action flicks of the year, combining smarts, action and visuals to a near-perfect combination that helps result in one of the strongest films yet to hit the cinema this summer.
William Cage (Cruise), a senior public relations officer in the United States Army, is unwillingly thrust into a large-scale military operation geared to rid the Earth of mimics, an alien race that has taken the planet by storm. Ill-equipped to deal with the battlefield, Cage dies quickly, but he somehow awakens at the beginning of the previous day, with the events of his death still fresh in his mind. Needing the help of war heroine Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), Cage uses his newfound ability to turn the tides against the Mimics, reliving the same tragic day in order to win the war.
In a movie controlled by special effects and action scenes, what is often lost in the scrum is the relation between the two lead characters. Edge of Tomorrow does as such with the strong partnership demonstrated between the two leads of the film; Cruise and Blunt both bring their A-game to EOT and it definitely shows. Absolutely nailing the transition from inexperienced soldier to war catalyst, the journey taken by Cage is entertaining and witty, only assisted by Cruise’s immersion into the role from beginning to end.
Ultimately, EOT was successful due to the easy-to-follow progression of the plot. Time-travel films can get sticky, as many people have pointed out congruency issues in several films over past years that deal with the subject, most recently inherent in X-Men: Days of Future Past. However, EOT, for the most part, keeps the plot in line, keeping everything fast-paced and engrossing, avoiding the redundancy that could have easily been presented during the opening stanza of the film.
One surprising aspect of the film is how funny it ends up being throughout. On the surface, EOT looks like a definitive war film with dark undertones, but in reality the film takes an entirely different route. Director Doug Liman takes the key plot component, Cage’s ability to die and immediately restart the day, and has a little fun with it, resulting in several hilarious moments at the expense of the lead protagonist. However, those little moments end up being a highlight of the film and even help break up some of the slower-paced moments of the movie, which ultimately helps lend to the experience.
Liman did a great job developing congruencies from his previous two summer films, The Bourne Identity and Mr. & Mrs. Smith, bringing a movie that is easily one of the best visual feasts of the summer. From beginning to end, EOT is a complete cinematic experience on the eyes and ears, while helps lend to the atmosphere created by the film. Seeing the movie in 2D was a completely awe-inspiring experience, and although there were several moments where the 3D would have likely made more sense, there never seemed to be much discrepancy or clear directive by the producers to overuse the medium.
Although the film does eventually kick into high gear, the opening 15-20 minutes of EOT does stumble a bit as you are patiently waiting for the battle to commence. Although it is not a deal-breaker in the least, those opening minutes do leave you immensely interested but somewhat anxious as you know the panic and chaos that is on the horizon.
Ultimately, Edge of Tomorrow is easily one of the best films of the summer and will likely battle X-Men: Days of Future Past for the early title of best summer film of 2014 at this point in the year. An action-packed fun ride, Liman makes the best use of his audience, creating an engrossing film experience begging for multiple viewings, filled with beautiful visuals, laughs and powerful moments. If you are looking for a summer movie and don’t mind looking at Tom Cruise for two hours, do not hesitate until the end of the week. Go see Edge of Tomorrow immediately.