Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Edge of Tomorrow: Movie Review

Edge of Tomorrow: Movie Review

Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson
Director: Doug Liman

Blockbuster season is upon us - and the latest entrant to the popcorn pantheon sees Tom Cruise stuck in a war is hell analogy.

With the earth invaded by creatures known as the Mimics and with nations toppling around them, Tom Cruise's spin doctor Major William Cage finds himself thrust onto the front line by a vindictive general (Brendan Gleeson) on the eve of a major last push from UK soil.

Unable to cope with the concept of fighting, and with a Normandy style beach landing just around the corner, Cage does all he can to escape the war - but to no avail. Thrust into the theatre of war, Cage is killed by a Mimic - only to wake up and find that he's jumped back in time and is being forced to live the same 2 days over and over again....

Edge of Tomorrow is based on the Japanese novel, All You Need Is Kill and is a heady mash up of the sci fi and other genres you've seen before - from Starship Troopers to Groundhog Day, Saving Private Ryan to Looper, Elysium with its exo-suits and even Cruise's last outing, Oblivion,  it's derivative in many ways.

Humour permeates the first third of the film with Cruise's Cage being offed in a variety of ways, in a plethora of situations that if you're not a fan of the superstar may bring you an element of perverse glee (as well as make you think it's some kind of bizarre cinematic video-game).

Though, it's Cruise that shines through in this as he starts out as a smug PR weasel of a man forced into a baptism of fire on the battlefield; with each death, there's a grim edge that creeps into his character and an attitude that he manages to sell incredibly well, with his own old age helping.

Equally, Blunt impresses as the bad-ass Rita Vrataski, despite starting out as the "Full Metal Bitch", heroine of the army and gradually softening to Cage's continued assault. Toned and combat ready, she carries her no-nonsense one-note heroine as Cage's foil throughout - she shoulders the burden of the bulk of the laughs during the reset sequences in a nice twist of expected gender stereotypes. Mention must also go to the evangelical Bill Paxton who, as a base sergeant, spouts such litany of Biblical proportions on combat that you almost feel like signing up yourself.

Liman's brought together an alien invasion that's visually original too, with spidery-style octopus like creatures ripping through the troops during the Saving Private Ryan beach landings. Speed and visual FX impress and make up for some of the convenient lapses in time travel logic and plotholes that permeate parts of the film (why is Gleeson's general so adamant that Cage will fight, how does an airship get off a base during lockdown).

Though it has to be said, the final portion of the film almost muddies the whole experience with a showdown that's as generic and predictable as most sci fi fare and derails the sparkiness and edge that delivered a freshness so early on, despite the sci-fi hokum and flimsy premise.

All in all, Edge of Tomorrow is a fine example of its oeuvre, a fun blockbuster sci-fi blast that reinstates Cruise as the king of the popcorn flick and proffers up Blunt as the queen of kick-ass.


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