Live, Die, Respawn.
Tom Cruise is at it again with another ambitious sci-fi movie, yet this time instead of leaving with a feeling if dissatisfaction, I left the cinema with a smirk on my face and felt satisfied by what was actually quite an enjoyable film. Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow is an excellent sci-fi film, packed with plenty of action, a unique concept and good acting.
The notion of ‘respawning’ within the gaming community is something we’ve grown used to over the past thirty or so years, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it used so clearly in a movie before. Edge of Tomorrow’s tagline is Live. Die. Repeat, and like a certain Brock Lesnar reference, it works quite well – because that’s exactly what happened. An alien life-form has hit Earth, taking over vast amounts of land and it’s up to Tom Cruise and co to help defend England from being taken over on what will be one of the last attempts to save humankind before utter annihilation. Cruise, however, isn’t the hardened badass you’ve come to know (until later in the film) and his antics are actually quite enjoyable. As a Major, being thrown out onto the frontline in a war that’s being severely lost isn’t the most honorable thing to have done to you, but that’s how it ends up – and when he has an encounter with the mimics (the alien race in the movie) things get very interesting. The story of Edge of Tomorrow has a nice amount of layer to it for such a full-blown sci-fi action flick, and I really enjoyed the nuances of Cruise’s character throughout.
Like I mentioned above, Tom Cruise is excellent in his role in this movie, but it ultimately comes down to Emily Blunt’s character that really pushes him into the spotlight. Playing the role of Rita, a hardened war vet with a skill for killing mimics, she is the ultimate badass. Both of them have a nice amount of chemistry and I really enjoyed watching their exchanges on screen, whether it be the beginning of the film when Cage was still coming to grips with his respawning ability or later in the film when progression was finally being made – it really felt like a solid performance by both. The other actors in the film don’t offer too much depth, however, but as a war movie that isn’t Band of Brothers or The Pacific, you wouldn’t really expect vivid character development anyway.
“Tom Cruise is excellent in his role in this movie, but it ultimately comes down to Emily Blunt’s character that really pushes him into the spotlight.”
When I went into Edge of Tomorrow, I expected the consistent use of ‘respawning’ could become tiresome, as this kind of thing can be really frustrating to watch, especially if it’s showing generally the same thing every time Cage dies – but the way the movie handled it was excellent, giving a nod at what had happened before and moving straight back into the action without skipping a beat.
Obviously this isn’t an action movie without action, and the film has a lot of great action sequences littered throughout. It doesn’t ‘stop and start’ with the action either, as it’s very fast paced and it never stops when it gets going – and that’s something I really enjoyed about the film as well.
Visual effects play an important role in a film like Edge of Tomorrow, and the VFX were nothing short of excellent – as you’d expect with a multi-million dollar budget and Tom Cruise at the handle. Director Doug Liman is known for his work on other action films like The Bourne Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and while Edge of Tomorrow is a huge step forward on the visual effects front, the team behind it make the exosuits believable and the film to be overall full of eye-candy that action fans will absolutely love.
Perhaps one of the negatives about Edge of Tomorrow is that the film is a little bit too long. Clocking in at 110 minutes, it just felt like it could have been cut back a little bit and that would have made the overall effect of the film that much more enjoyable. Speaking of overall effect, the ending of Edge of Tomorrow wasn’t so great – and I’m still at a loss over what to think about it. Even if the ending was in the book it was adapted from, perhaps something more was required – as it wasn’t entirely satisfying to walk out from.
Overall though, Edge of Tomorrow is an excellent sci-fi action film and I’d be crazy to say that Tom Cruise wasn’t good in it. After his last adventures into the genre I went in expecting this to be a bit of a mess but I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was and how enjoyable I found it. The action is intense, the concept is excellent and the writing is witty. As we approach the summer blockbuster season, do yourself a favor and check Edge of Tomorrow out, you won’t regret it.
Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow is an excellent film and one that I can’t recommend enough to action fans alike. Cruise and Blunt are excellent and the story is easy enough to follow but has a solid amount of depth to it as well.
Directed by: Doug Liman
Written by: Cristopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth (screenplay) and Hiroshi Sakurazaka (book)
Stars: Tom Cruise & Emily Blunt