Tom Cruise never seems to take a day off from action movies, but this time around, he doesn’t start off as the brave and cocky hero, immediately throwing comparisons to his other projects aside and allowing you to see the Tom Cruise that can act selfish, cowardly, scared, funny, and then resilient and strong in all the right places.
In a not-so-distant future, an alien race called Mimics has invaded most of Europe. Cruise portrays Major William Cage, a military public relations officer who is ordered to report from the front lines of war. Knowing that it is likely suicide to fight in the war, he refuses. They arrest him and send him on the mission to invade France.
From then on, the movie is basically non-stop action, starting with the invasion of France, reminiscent of D-Day. The soldiers are flung into the ocean and attacked before they even hit the sand. Cage dies within minutes, but he takes one of the Alpha aliens with him. The blood of the Alpha gives him the ability to reset back to the day before he dies. This is an ability the aliens have, so that they can reset time and defeat their enemies by anticipating their future moves.
After a few more deaths on the beach, Cage is able to get the hang of things and he comes across a notorious Special Forces agent, Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), aka Full Metal Bitch. She used to have the ability to reset time too, so she begins training him to get them past the beach and kill the Omega, the “queen bee” of the Mimics.
With each reset, Cage’s abilities advance, as does his attitude. The cowardly PR slimeball is replaced with the might of a true soldier and the eyes of a man who has seen real war. Each reset (or respawn) gets Cage and Vrataski closer to their destination.
Though there are a lot of comparisons to Groundhog Day, thanks to the time loop component, Edge of Tomorrow is really more akin to a live-action video game. Director Doug Liman, known for Bourne Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, throws you around inside a world of exo-skeletons, aliens of amazing graphic quality, and guns blazing from all angles. Each reset is an entirely new experience and keeps any repetitive content fresh, especially the great cameo by Bill Paxton as Master Sergeant Farell.
While I felt that Cruise was able to really show himself off—including the impeccable comedic timing he shows rarely—Blunt’s character was a bit of a disappointment. Granted, her yoga moves were beyond impressive, but she just wasn’t given the chance to be as badass as she should have been; the fault lying on the shoulders of the writers and director. In addition, Blunt’s chemistry with Cruise was evident, though the sidenote love story felt like it was thrown in there last minute to make the Hollywood executives happy.
Despite those minor flaws, Edge of Tomorrow blended video games and film into a brilliant smoothie of entertainment.