Leave it to Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman to show with “Edge of Tomorrow” just how one does a big action picture right. Directed by Liman, with screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth, based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka ‘s novel, All You Need Is Kill, “Edge of Tomorrow” takes place in the future when the world’s countries are united (United Defense Forces (UDF) ) against a common enemy—an alien form of life called Mimics. Just how the world wins the battle…or will it…is the film’s basic plot.
The film opens with CNN footage of the ongoing battles and then goes to an interview with Major William Cage (Tom Cruise), a UDF spokesman and officer in the United States Army Reserve, on CNN’s Jake Tapper’s “The Lead.” After the interview, Cage heads to London to meet with General Brigham, (Brendan Gleeson), commander of the UDF, who informs him that he has the “opportunity to be embedded with the armed forces as they prepare to fight in France. Gates, who’s never actually been in combat, balks at the assignment and threatens the General. But the General one-ups him, telling Gates he has no choice, strips Gates of his rank, and sends him out, in handcuffs no less, under the watch of Master Sergeant Farell (Bill Paxton) and his band of ragtag soldiers. To say Gates is out of his depth is putting it mildly, but the soldiers deploy and a bloody fight incurs. It’s during this battle that Gates experiences the first of his many time resets, “Groundhog Days,” if you will. It’s in one of his earlier resets that he meets up with war hero Rita Vrataski, the “Angel of Verdun” (Emily Blunt). He discovers that she had also experienced resets, just like Gates. They form an alliance and together the two try to come up with a plan full of action, fights and resets to save the world.
“Edge of Tomorrow” has its share of astounding special effects and weird, spider-like villains, but unlike other special effects-laden war/end of the world movies out this year with more to come, this film also has brains and wit. It just seems more intelligent and it’s never boring. What’s even stranger, but in a good way, is that even though scenes are repeated, the movie never feels repetitive.
Although “Edge of Tomorrow” is billed as a Tom Cruise movie, Emily Blunt has almost the same amount of screen time as Cruise and she is every bit his equal. Not one you’d normally associate with an action flick, Blunt is amazing. Her chemistry with Cruise is terrific and this lady can kick some mean butt. As one would expect, Cruise excels in the scenes which cause for him to be cocky and he’s great in all of the action sequences. But he’s also very good in the scenes in which he’s literally freaking out or when he’s dazed and somewhat confused. Giving heft to the all-around good acting are Gleeson and Paxton in their supporting roles.
Just when I was about to give up on ever watching a really good, substantive special effects, end-of-the-world film, along comes “Edge of Tomorrow.” Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt really do save the day.