Before I get into the good stuff and begin theorizing what bizarre rituals Tom Cruise has attended to freeze the aging process, let us begin with a brief analyzation of the title of his latest sci-fi action fest: Edge of Tomorrow. Tagline: Live. Die. Repeat. This is a horrid, filthy thing to call a film and does nothing to hint at the fact that this movie is actually a rather entertaining romp worth seeing. Sounds more like a Timothy Dalton era Bond film. Weak.
Another alternative would have been (and originally was) calling the film the same name as the Japanese novel that it is based on: All You Need is Kill. That’s a tough sell because unless you’re a morbid fan of The Beatles, that’s a weird bunch of words to commit to memory. The film’s plot focuses is on Cruise, stuck in a time loop during an epic beach battle against a monstrous alien life force in the near future. As he stumbles his way through the horror and violence (which takes place on a French beachfront and evokes memories of vapid version of Saving Private Ryan) he painfully discovers that when he dies the day abruptly starts over. Live. Die. Repeat. So actually All You Need is Die would have been a more keen designation.
Or, let’s just be honest, they should have simply called it Groundhog D-Day and been done with it.
Groundhog D-Day begins soft with some terrible fake news footage that establishes a world where aliens have overtaken most of Europe. Reasons why our hero is sent off into battle are fuzzy (I still don’t get it) but once the action starts, the movie finds a brisk pace that lasts until a clunky resolution (I still don’t like it). The high concept is played for more laughs than I had expected and Cruise is likable enough as Major William Cage. Cruise doesn’t stretch much here. He is same Tom Cruise as per usual. But Movie Stars rarely become they just are. See Brad Pitt’s hair as a prime example.
Time is being rather nice to Tom. He hasn’t much aged in the last 15 or so years. The man is over fifty and still is able to play the action hero when the right substance is around him. Here he does better than he did with recent misfires such as Oblivion or Jack Reacher. He is consistently believable in these roles and can soar with the right material. A part of me doesn’t want to like him but I do.
The movie borrows and squanders from many other films and the mechanical suits that Cruise and co-star Emily Blunt don will seem familiar for those of you who saw last year’s Elysium. Fortunately I didn’t.
Here we have a summer popcorn film just smart enough to make you not feel like you aren’t getting dumber from watching it. We have the next Transformers coming soon enough for that.
Final note: DO NOT SEE THIS FILM IN 3D!!! The shaky handy camera work lends nothing to the effect and you will be better off seeing it as god intended. In good ol’ flat 2 dimensions.