An army officer relives the same day over and over again, resetting every time he dies battling aliens at Normandy.
Doug Liman, 2014
Five years into a war with the alien species known as Mimics, Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is demoted for antagonising a superior officer. Even though he’s never seen battle, Cage is sent to the front, where he meets his off-kilter commanding officer, Master Sergeant Farell (Bill Pullman). Farell introduces him to his unit, a collection of oddballs who immediately hate Cage after Farell tells them he’s a deserter. They go through training before heading into battle on Normandy beach, wearing weaponised exoskeleton armour that enhances their fighting ability. Cage fumbles through the battle before managing to kill an unusual-looking Mimic, which takes him out with it…and then, to his surprise, he wakes up back in training to live through the day again. Eventually he goes to the best fighter on the beach, Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), also known alternately as the “Angel of Verdun” for her impressive fighting at a previous battle and the “Full Metal Bitch” because of her armour. When she sees him fight, she surprises Cage by telling him to come find her when he wakes up…
Two main takeaways from this movie: a) they should have stuck with the original, much more memorable title of “All You Need Is Kill”, and b) please, no more Tom Cruise. This movie would be awesome with a more likeable, relatable lead, but as it stands it’s just good. The rest of the cast is fantastic. Emily Blunt is terrific, and I hope she gets the lead in an action movie soon. Bill Paxton is KILLING it as a Master Sergeant from Kentucky with grand philosophies and not much intelligence to back it up. The rest of the cast is varying degrees of fine, but those three get the most screentime. Tom Cruise plays Alien Fighter Tom Cruise. His storyline is great, with real character development – he starts out smarmy and self-serving and ends up self-sacrificing and brave – but there’s nothing in Tom Cruise’s eyes anymore, except maybe dollar signs. It would’ve been good to have someone who could go toe-to-toe with Blunt, who at every single moment in the movie is far, far better than her leading man, bringing to life a nuanced and unusual lady soldier.
The storyline is fine – we know the Groundhog Day concept well enough now, but this one throws enough spanners in the works to be fun, and there’s the high-powered alien war sequences to keep it going. Liman is a deft hand with the confusing sci-fi stuff, balancing pathos and action admirably. The film looks and sounds great, and moves along well – while I did eventually get to the point where my disbelief was straining too much (they take A LOT OF KNOCKS without getting hurt, seriously), I never got bored. The aliens have an interesting, clever design. The themes are well-worn and familiar, but there’s some decent, humorous moments that keep the audience on-side. In the interest of full disclosure, there were several moments that I laughed at while the audience around me was silent, so I’m not sure if it was unintentional humour or a humourless crowd. There is some great, well-realised world-building on display here, and a few really impressive set pieces (some of which aren’t in the trailer!) that are worth seeing. The movie manages to be pretty great despite starring Tom Cruise, but it would be significantly better without him…if they could’ve raised the money to get it made without his involvement. Is this the trade-off we have to live with now? You can have cool sci-fi, but it has to star the Cruiser?
Edge of Tomorrow on IMDb