Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow (2014) – I’m way behind on my reviews. I saw this movie over a month ago and am just getting around to writing this. It’s been interesting, though, that this movie has become something of a topic in film nerd circles. Specifically the fact that it’s an original science fiction movie (depending on how you define “original,” as it is based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel All You Need Is Kill), and that is something we seem to be getting precious little of these days. This has become painfully more obvious as Transformers 4: At Least This One Doesn’t Have Shia LaBeouf has since opened and made a significant amount more. Hell in its opening weekend alone, Transformers: Age of Extinction made more than half of what Edge of Tomorrow has made in the month it opened. Anyway, the thesis of this opening paragraph (before I abandon this train of thought and talk about the actual movie itself) is simple: you don’t get to bitch and moan about the excess of sequels and remakes if you don’t go see original movies. Hollywood makes what makes them money. If you want creativity, prove to them that it is profitable. But enough of the soapbox. How’s Edge of Tomorrow? Worth your monetary vote?

Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is a public relations flack for the military’s efforts against an invading alien race nicknamed Mimics (no relation to the Guillermo Del Toro horror flick). Maj. Cage is rather uncooperative when ordered by General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) to be alongside the invading forces, and the next day finds himself under military arrest and forced into the squad of Master Sergeant Farrell (Bill Paxton). He storms the beach with the army and gets killed. (Uh… spoiler.) Then something happens… something familiar to anyone who remembers the classic Bill Murray comedy Groundhog Day. Cage wakes up at the beginning of the day alive and well in Farrell’s squad, forced into the same battle. With the same result. Then it repeats. Cage, understandably confused, seems the help of Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) who, in addition to being a celebrated soldier, knows a thing or two about what Cage is going through. And it just might be the key to defeating the Mimics.

Well, if you don’t like Tom Cruise I have some good news: you get to see him get killed in this movie. A LOT. If you do like Cruise (and as far as his acting goes I do) you get to see what’s so great about him: he always brings his A game. The material could be the top notch or bargain basement but Cruise will always do the work and commit to that shit. That works in this movie as he creates a character who is NOT a hero. He’s a coward. He’s also really funny, which is a side of Cruise we seldom see. Emily Blunt as a badass is also kind of a nice type-breaking role. This movie isn’t perfect by any means. Noah Taylor is around just for exposition and not really allowed to create a character. The squad are all just types instead of people. Playwright Jez Butterworth (Jerusalem) and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) worked on this script (along with Jez’s brother John-Henry Butterworth) and it doesn’t really rate alongside their best work. But director Doug Liman (Go, The Bourne Identity) brings a kinetic energy to it that makes it all work. Edge of Tomorrow isn’t some paragon of originality to be held up as some sort of “original” science fiction ideal, but it is a hell of a lot of fun and worth checking out.

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