Tom Cruise has quietly been building up an admirable Sci-Fi/Action filmography these few years with both mega franchises like the last two Mission Impossible movies and a few low key ones like the fantastic Jack Reacher and Oblivion. The trailers did not do enough justice to how smart the script is. The action set pieces, aren’t very grand but minimalistic, a rare thing these days, this makes more very compelling and wildly entertaining action sequences. Christopher McQuarrie, I would imagine was in-charge of ensuring the script does not get bloated as director Doug Liman who helmed Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Jumper has the tendency to do that. McQuarrie was the director of Jack Reacher, one of the best One-Man mission type of movies in years and also shall be directing the next Mission Impossible movie. The Exo-Skeletons called Combat Jackets here are really cool looking, we did get to see a similar one in Elysium, but this is a far superior and cooler piece of tech. The broad swords that Emily Blunt’s Rita Vrataski uses to hack her way across a Mimic, the Alien invaders in the movie, will make you feel like you’re watching scenes right from an anime, very cool stuff.
I haven’t read the source novel, All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, which was a far better title, but given the over sensitivity of the Americans it was replaced with a safer, milder title. It is safe to say that is completely inspired by Groundhog Day. The 1993 classic starring Bill Murray who gets stuck in a time loop and keeps repeating the same day over and over again. Tom Cruise is afflicted by this tragic/lucky time loop after he dies by getting an Alpha Mimics’ blood on him which in turn lets him partially tap into their power of time manipulation, that allows him to reset a day, unknowingly, each time he dies, the concept itself is fascinating and many have “borrowed” this and used it to great effect like Duncan Jones’ Source Code and Supernatural’s Mystery Spot episode. The time loops make way for some very funny sequences, naturally, but also serve as expositions to the overall plot like how Cruise develops his mastery in the battlefield.
The addition of Bill Paxton, the man who holds the distinction of being the only man to have been killed on screen by a Predator, a Xenomorph and a Terminator, gives you confidence that you’re in for a treat, he steals the early scenes with his brand of sly humor. Brendan Gleeson as the evil General Brigham exudes just the right amount of cunning to make you despise him, Emily Blunt has the right amount of charisma and badassery and perfect for the role of a battle hero, and finally Tom Cruise, he doesn’t play it any different than his other roles, which isn’t necessarily bad, he’s freakin’ Tom Cruise complete with his signature scenes which include running and him on a bike.
Though it is a fun movie, there are a few flaws, the third act unravels really quickly and gives you a sense of mild disappointment, as it feels like you’ve seen this already. The characters are quite one-dimensional and the mimics are not very intimidating, maybe because death in this movie is rendered inconsequential.
Edge of Tomorrow is a very well executed sci-fi feature that will keep you, mind the pun, on the “edge” of your seats with its superb action sequences and fluid screenplay.