Review: Edge of Tomorrow

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Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers, this is the probably what most people think of upon seeing the trailers for Edge of Tomorrow. Like Starship Troopers, the film consists of soldiers facing a plethora of alien creatures, and like Groundhog Day, our hero is caught in a seemingly endless time loop where he has to relive the same day over and over.

This seemingly simple mashup is adapted from the Japanese light novel All You Need Is Kill. But let’s be honest here, American adaptations of Japanese books are usually terrible. Dragonball EvolutionSpeed Racer and Oldboy are all American adaptations that not only were universally panned by critics but they failed at the box office as well. So does Warner Bros’ adaptation of All You Need Is Kill follow the same fate as its predecessors?

Not only does Edge of Tomorrow avoids its fate but it may end up being the sleeper hit of the summer. The film is a non-stop clever thrill ride that’ll entertain until the credits roll.

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In Edge of Tomorrow, the world is a war with a hive-like alien race that has chosen to take over Earth. Major William Cage, a military man who never seen a day of combat, gets dropped into a suicide mission called Operation Downfall. As he dies in battle, Cage becomes thrown into a time loop where he has to live out the same brutal battle over and over.

Though the concept of a person living in a time loop is not an original idea, the execution is done in a clever way. Credit goes to Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth for creating a screenplay that takes this unoriginal concept and keep it fresh by fusing it with drama, action, humor and smart ideas. The way Major Cage keeps replaying the same day is never the same since his behavior always changes each time the day resets — often resulting in hilarious outcomes as he navigates through each day. Plus the idea of a useless, inept underdog caught up in a war where the existence of humanity is at stake is also what keeps you invested throughout the film.

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Much of this investment is due to Tom Cruise’s charismatic performance as Major William Cage. Even though the character was useless and inept at first, he doesn’t ham up the character. No one has this much fun watching someone die over and over again from accidents since Kenny from South Park. Later, as you’re watching his evolution from a sleazy, fast-talking military PR man to a self-sacrificing heroic soldier you remember what an amazing actor Tom Cruise is. The little nuances he gives the character during this evolution is remarkable. The entire film is dependent on him and not only does he carry the film, he put it on his back and sprints the film to the finish line. Cruise has never been so likable.

The chemistry between Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt is also great. After all, Cruise and Blunt both share the burden of the film together, so it was imperative that the chemistry worked and it does. Throughout the film, you see Cage come to care for Blunt’s character, Rita Vrataski. As you can expect, with every day that resets he has to start this one-sided relationship over again. It was fun watching the relationship between the two develop through the course of the film.

Unfortunately, due to the constraints of time loop storyline, Blunt’s character doesn’t really develop throughout the film. Her tough-as-nails character opens up a bit throughout the film, but essentially it’s the same one-dimensional character that you see over and over again. Nevertheless, Blunt does excellent job of working with the constraints that befalls upon her character.

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As you can imagine, the rest of the supporting cast doesn’t get a lot of screentime but are memorable nonetheless. Most notable of them all is Bill Paxton’s Master Sergeant Farell. Think of his character as a mix of Chet Donnelly from Weird Science and Private Hudson from Aliens, only with a heavy Southern accent.

Director Doug Liman first came onto the action scene with The Bourne Identity but since then his films have been hit or miss. High concept sci-fi films are tough to pull off, but Liman brings his A-game to the table. This is his best film since The Bourne Identity. The entire film is well-shot, well-paced and beautiful to look at. Also, Edge’s exosuits are badass and are surprisingly not CGI.

With sequels, superheroes and remakes ruling summer, it’s easy to look past a film like Edge of Tomorrow. Every now and again, you’ll find that hidden gem that comes out from nowhere. Edge of Tomorrow is that hidden gem. With a smart script, clever filmmaking, big action and a charismatic lead, you have everything you need for an entertaining summer blockbuster. Like its time loop concept, it’s a film that deserves repeat views.

4.5/5 Atoms

NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1598 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.