Saturday, June 7, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Director: Doug Liman
Notable Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson

I’ve been stoked for Edge of Tomorrow since it was announced. While Tom Cruise might still be on the crazy train, his latest output of film work has always hit home here at Blood Brothers. Whether it was the thriller Jack Reacher or the well executed Oblivion, he’s been on a roll. Not to mention his choice in science fiction has always produced some stellar results. Does anyone hate Minority Report? So it’s not all that surprising that Edge of Tomorrow thrilled me. It wasn’t quite the thought provoking sci-fi tale that he last couple were, but it it’s a great fun flick that knows what it is and runs with it thoroughly.

Cage (Cruise) is not a solider. He is a media expert for the military and his work on keeping hopes up for the human race as they battle the vicious Mimics cannot be understated. When he finds himself in trouble, he’s sent to the front lines of a major invasion by man on the beaches of France, and he’s dead in five minutes of landing. He wakes up…

Power through!
I can’t tell you how many comments and reviews that I read that compare Edge of Tomorrow to Groundhog’s Day. Yeah, it makes sense considering the film is about a man how continually wakes up on the same day over and over again only to restart when he dies. Outside of that premise, Edge of Tomorrow tends to owe more to Aliens and The Matrix more than that classic comedy. Granted the film does play up some of the humor surrounding his ability to reset the day when he dies (oh boy, does he die A LOT and the timing of the editing and direction certainly play up the gruesome concept in funny ways), but that’s not the only thing that Edge of Tomorrow has going for it.

In fact, Edge of Tomorrow takes the gimmick of its tagline “Live. Die. Repeat.” and underscores it with some great character work. Tom Cruise handles the role with some precise acting as he (and director Doug Liman) blend humor, action tropes, and dramatic beats swiftly throughout the film. His growth from a cowardly, but charming media campaign man to mechanized soldier of fortune was a blast to watch and the subtle romantic beats with the ultimate bad ass Rita, played effectively by Emily Blunt, swirled right in with the high concept plot. Cruise’s work is perfectly balanced by stronger secondary characters including a great Kentucky turn for Bill Paxton and the caricatures of his squad. While the plot certainly carried some plot holes to be had (including an ending that was far too upbeat for my tastes), the characters and charm of the concept really pushed it through.

While the design of the mimics didn’t necessarily seem as awesome as I original thought they would be, truthfully I kept comparing them to the squids in The Martix, the action is pretty impressive. Doug Liman seems to know how to balance strong spectacle (the entire beach invasion) with some classic action skills. Seeing Emily Blunt wield her giant ass sword is a ton of fun and catching glimpses of Cruise pummel aliens with his mechanical fists is always a blast. While the film did lose a bit of momentum in the action for the finale where it takes a more suspenseful twist, I was more than happy with the results of Edge of Tomorrow as an action flick.

"The plan is 'not to suck.' Think we can stick to that?"
Considering most of the praise I heard for Edge of Tomorrow, it’s sad that it will probably end up being a box office disappointment in the US. It earns most of the praise it has received for its genre blending and off beat moments of quirky characters and high-octane action. It’s no Minority Report or Oblivion in quality of writing, but Edge of Tomorrow comes highly recommended from me.

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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