An untrained soldier is caught in a time loop during a war against an alien enemy.
Edge of Tomorrow may be a Tom Cruise jaunt but its also a pretty kick-ass sci-fi flick in its own right.
Go and Mr and Mrs Smith director Doug Liman has visited the genre before with Jumper but don’t hold that against him as his latest is an action packed treat that takes its time jumping seriously even while its remembering that movies should also be entertaining.
So the movie has a lot of fun with the notion that Tom Cruise’s time-stuck soldier expires in numerous comical ways as he lives the same day over and over, searching for a way to end the combat. The laughs may be macabre but that doesn’t mean they aren’t hearty.
It’s all extremely good, certainly far better than sci-fi fans have come to expect recently. Cruise may not be to everyone’s liking but this is easily his most interesting role in years, giving him a chance to play crazy action star as well as comic relief and also casting him as a charming but shallow PR guy – something his all American smile plays into brilliantly.
Emily Blunt is suitably kickass in her first proper action movie role – the camera loves her and she’s well up for the demands of the part of the Full Metal Bitch. And can I just say that I love that there was no problem with her keeping her delightful English accent. The other actors don’t get a lot of screen time but Bill Paxton’s shouty Sergeant is memorable and everyone is working hard to keep the tone playful.
Liman stages plenty of action which is high on intensity without every really being all that clear on choreography. But it works for the picture, especially given the frenzied attacks of the unique alien enemies – whirling dervishes of death called Mimics that careen around the screen.
Other plus points include a setting in London and France that’s a refreshing change from America-centric invasion movies and a gritty sense of style and tech which recalls the D-Day landings while also doing enough to set itself apart from other war films.
There are only a few negatives but some might find them significant. As with any time travel movie the plot strands to tend to get tangled up, and the ending could have pushed itself a little harder for emotional impact. The dramatic scenes in general are rarely that strong, likely as a consequence of spending more time setting up laughs.
But there’s also lots to love about Edge of Tomorrow – it’s a proper sci-fi film with brain-bending ideas and often stunning execution. It’s got a terrific pairing of Emily Blunt and a rarely better Tom Cruise and a blackly humorous bent which is rarely seen in summer blockbusters. It’s big, ballsy and fun – and you should go see it on the biggest screen you can find.
[Oh and in case you were wondering, the film shares very little withHiroshi Sakurazaka's source novel All You Need is Kill]