If any film is speculated to be this year’s critically acclaimed box office failure, it’s Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow. Last year we saw Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim also fall by the way side with audiences. And just like that film, Edge of Tomorrow will go down as one of the most fun and entertaining films of the year that you probably didn’t see. Based on the novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, part of the problem could be the name change, but it certainly has nothing do with Doug Liman’s direction. Having already proven himself more than adept at comedy (Swingers and Go) and action (The Bourne Identity and Mr. & Mrs. Smith), now both worlds collide in Edge of Tomorrow, with Liman more than making up for Jumper.
In the near future, an alien race called “mimics” has arrived via meteor in Germany and overtakes Western Europe. Major William Cage (Cruise) has been ordered to the front line of battle by General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) to lead the war to victory on camera. Problem is, Cage is not a combat officer and tries to blackmail his way out of going. Brigham has Cage arrested and labeled a deserter and sends him off to Heathrow to prepare for battle.
Thrown into the ragtag J-Squad, Cage is far from ready. He winds up getting soaked in a mimic’s blood which kills him, only to wake back up the day before, arriving in Heathrow once again. After reliving the same day only to die once again while saving Special Forces soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), she tells him to come find her before they both get killed in an explosion. Turns out, Rita used to have the same situation while fighting at Verdun. Rita lets Cage in on the fact that the mimics can manipulate time and are controlled by an Omega the two must make a plan of action to destroy once and for all.
The best thing going for Edge of Tomorrow is its surprising amount of humor. The film may be filled with the best special effects money can buy, but the screenplay — courtesy Cruise regular Christopher McQuarrie (Valkyrie, Jack Reacher, and the upcoming Mission: Impossible 5) along with brothers Jez and John-Henry Butterworth — keep a running course of one-liners and hilariously deadly situations. You could almost call this the intentionally funny version of a Final Destination movie minus all the gory kills — just about every time Cruise dies, it’s hilarious. Blunt seems to be almost relishing being able to shoot Cruise in the head over and over and over. Tongue is firmly planted in cheek through most of the film.
Liman keeps things running at a breakneck pace, thankfully not just throwing us right into the action. There’s a good amount of setup before we get to the time loop, allowing us to take in the alien threat, which feels like a companion piece to Starship Troopers. The action features some dizzying displays of gee whiz factor but never takes over the humanity brought by Cruise and Blunt, who are great together. Also adding to the fun is seeing Cruise play the scared-of-blood wuss to Blunt’s take-charge badass. The bottom line is that this is one of the most fun and original action films in a long time and the best so far this summer. Do yourself a favor and see this movie!
Photos courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures[amazon template=iframe image&chan=default&asin=B00KPY19K6][amazon template=iframe image&chan=default&asin=1421560879][amazon template=iframe image&chan=default&asin=1421527618]