Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt’s newest action flick pits two of my deepest movie biases head to head. In one corner is my frequently trumpeted love for alien invasion movies (Pacific Rim (2013), Starship Troopers (1997), Ender’s Game (2013) or at least the book) and sci-fi movies with time travel or non-sequential timelines (12 Monkeys (1995), Source Code (2012), Looper (2012), etc) with bonus points dished out for exoskeletons and sweet fighting gear (The Matrix Revolutions (2003), Elysium (2013), and Pacific Rim (2013). Avatar (2009) gets no points because screw Avatar). In the other corner is my general distaste for all things Tom Cruise. It’s hard for me to place the underlying reason for my dislike but it usually takes some effort for me to buy into Cruise on screen (not counting Tropic Thunder (2008)). But with Edge of Tomorrow, the joy of the genre win out and Cruise serves as a great anchor alongside an amazing Blunt, who matches every super-powered Cruise punch with a supercharged sword swipe.
We start off with a familiar introduction to the film’s world delivered by cut scenes from news media reports featuring real reporters spliced in with our characters. The intro gives us a quick and concise background without keeping us out of the action for very long. Within the first 40 minutes the film’s “Live, Die, Repeat” concept is fleshed out and the movie’s mission is established.
Humor is infused with Cruise’s perpetual repeating leading to a 50 First Dates (2004) and What Women Want (2004) relationship between the film’s stars with Cruise knowing more about Blunt than she does. Here the film’s similarities with Source Code (2011) rise to the surface. In that film, Jake Gyllenhaal repeats the last eight seconds of another man’s life over and over while trying to identify a train bombing terrorist. Cruise and Gyllenhaal use the same shtick of freaking out their co-stars by seemingly predicting the future. Edge of Tomorrow uses the repeats to much better effect, both in comedy and drama. Cruise’s deaths turn from occasionally hilarious at the beginning to more of a second thought as the movie’s plot is pushed forward, only to take center stage later in more tragic terms. Overall, the film handles the repeat cycle very well, adapting it as needed and unlike Source Code, it doesn’t rip up the rules it’s been working with for two hours in the closing scenes.
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%.
Where to see it: In theaters on the big screen. I saw this movie on a whim and didn’t shoot for the IMAX but it may be worth the extra price. Like other 3D/IMAX flicks, the movie splashes in some flashy sequences early on to appease the well-funded souls opting for the polarized specs.
Emily Blunt is a perfect casting choice and has never been more badass
Flashforward Premonition from June, 11th:
“I’ve been fooled by Tom Cruise movies a few times before (okay…many, many times), but this looks like a respectable addition to his collection. Unlike Mathew McConaughey, Cruise hasn’t parted ways with his bread and butter. McConaughey may have ditched the rom-coms for more substantial dramas (and an Academy Award) but Cruise keeps dipping into the action well, churning out mostly mediocre films about once a year (Oblivion (2013), Jack Reacher (2012), Mission Impossible-Ghost Protocol (2011), Knight and Day (2010). Oblivion fell a few steps short of worthwhile and is better served by only looking at the great visuals and ignoring the questionable plot and hidden subtexts). Having Emily Blunt on board for Edge of Tomorrow puts me at ease as she has proven she knows how to handle the weird amalgamation of sci-fi realism with Looper (2012, which is amazing) and The Adjustment Bureau (2011, which didn’t live up to it’s potential). In these three movies, Blunt follows a very satisfying arc starting with sought-after-female, to tough-and-protective mother, to all around exoskeleton wearing badass. With Edge of Tomorrow, I’m confident we’ll get all the right ingredients for a great action movie. Whether or not this batch can be anything more than great remains to be seen.”
Thanks for reading!
Bonus points to the team responsible for putting together one of my favorite trailers of the year. (Top honors go to “What’s the last thing you remember?” but it’s a close race).