Written by: Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Noah Taylor
Video games provide multiple opportunities to get things right. Your avatar may die in the process, but they will assuredly get another opportunity to try their endeavor once again. Imagine a game where if the avatar dies your gaming console shatters. Well, that’s what normal life represents, which Edge of Tomorrow tries bringing into this video game style. Exhilarating action with a surefire entertaining premise makes this an absolute stunner.
After refusing to follow orders, Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) gets demoted to private and forced to directly fight in the battle against the creatures called mimics. When an operation fails and everyone dies, Cage wakes up back at the start of the same day. He notices he’s caught in a time loop and tries to find a way out of it and possibly end this war.
Set in a world far into the future where the world comes under threat of being taken over by large creatures, Edge of Tomorrow brings a science-fiction take on the Groundhog Day premise. This time, instead of being stuck in Punxsutawney continuously, this just so happens to take place in a grim future with humanity in an all-out war with a different species. Here is where we find William Cage and how he unceremoniously gets dropped into being a private and essentially sent to his death as he’s sent to battle these mimics. The character of Cage marks an intriguing choice for Tom Cruise as an actor. He often prefers to take on roles where he plays the straightforward hero, but with Cage, he portrays a reluctant if not cowardly protagonist to follow. He does not necessarily relish the opportunity to save humanity by fighting in the war and would instead prefer to slink away into obscurity if possible. It makes watching Cruise in this performance far more entertaining as we know he can pull off Ethan Hunt, but we don’t always need him to be stoic, strong, and never fearful of the horrifying situation around him.
Even with Edge of Tomorrow not being a movie based on a video game, the time loop style gives the feel of one where every time he dies he starts back at the beginning of the day and must re-do everything. When he meets up with Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) is where he learns more about how he got stuck in this loop and how this can be used to the advantage of humanity to take out the mimics once and for all. The repetitive aspect requires some dynamic filmmaking seeing as repeating the same scenes over and over again has the tendency to feel hackneyed after a while. Doug Liman takes the premise and runs with it making each time Cage wakes back up its own sequence where the stakes get felt. It goes well with the performance given by Cruise as well as they combine to add the necessary energy to continually drive the story forward.
The look and feel of this film make no question what genre it’s playing in as Cage, Vrataski, and all other soldiers wear these mechanical suits, which give them the strength to fight these creatures while still maintaining their range of motion. It creates some epic battle sequences reminiscing the opening scene in Saving Private Ryan where the soldiers storm the beach with many of them being taken out in the process. With each attempt, Cage gets further before eventually perishing, which makes him more adept in combat but he learns more of where the enemy resides and how to best avoid dying once again.
As good as Cruise proves to be in the role of Cage, Emily Blunt completely steals the show as Vrataski. The lasting image of her in this film comes from the training room where she’s got her impressive biceps pronounced. She has the hero role with Vrataski, who has to whip Cage into fighting shape and possibly end the war. Blunt builds an excellent dynamic with Cruise as they both work with the natural comedic aspects of this premise and the brutal nature of the war they’re fighting. This shows Blunt can star in any type of film and absolutely shine. Whether it be a comedy, romance, musical, horror, and now with action.
Never a dull moment and buckets of fun, Edge of Tomorrow shows a used premise can be tinkered with and reused with the right framework. It uses the premise famously utilized by a comedy film and applies it to its own benefit. This use makes for a thoroughly entertaining movie jam-packed with great action sequences and a feeling of playing a video game as well. Led by two great actors and a director with a keen eye on good set pieces, this has had the recipe for success and the execution had this final product come out just right.