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Edge of Tomorrow
Dir: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, and Brendan Gleeson
4.00 out of 5.00
Movie Review — “Edge of Tomorrow”
MONTE YAZZIE ~ THE FOOTHILLS FOCUS~ 6/18/2014
Tom Cruise knows how to make an entertaining film, and director Doug Liman understands action film storytelling. Combine these two consistent artists in a film, and you are bound to have one entertaining experience. “Edge of Tomorrow” is a smartly designed and skillfully constructed science fiction thriller, with good performances from the two leads.
Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is a high level recruiter for the military and the new war against alien invaders known as mimics, who have the ability to reset time, giving them the advantage of being a step ahead in warfare. Cage, a non-combat officer, is stripped of his rank by an overzealous General (Brendan Gleeson) and placed in a ragtag group known as “J Company” for frontline defense in the impending first assault. Cage doesn’t make it very far on the battlefield, dying within minutes, but in the process killing a mimic that bleeds on him and gives him the ability to reset time. On a learning curve with his new power, Cage enlists the help of a respected soldier named Rita (Emily Blunt) in an effort to defeat the mimics.
Cruise was good throughout the film, starting the story as a privileged officer in the military who had an aversion to blood and had never used the weapons he promoted. But by the end he was a hardened expert of combat, motivated by the needs of humanity over his personal fears. It was a shift that Cruise handled with ease. Emily Blunt was enjoyable to watch, wielding a massive combat sword with an attitude that challenged most manly military stereotypes. She was best when paired with Cruise; mostly kicking him around during training sessions and repeatedly killing him so she could reset the day.
The narrative was complicated, but not confusing. Liman kept the story nicely paced up to the final act, which changed tone and unfolded too predictably. The battle sequences were in the style of Liman’s past films, a mix of frenzied handheld perspectives awash with a grey color palette. Liman constructed a maze-like battlefield with explosions from nearly every direction that was an impressive display even with the unneeded 3-D gimmickry. The initial battle, that would again be replayed more than few times, was dizzying and exciting.
The CG aliens were in a constant state of hyper movement, reminiscent of the chaotic transition seen with the conversion from machine to robot in the “Transformers” series, and it became cluttered when mixed with Liman’s distinct action design in some parts. The restraint, in regards to violence and the many deaths of the lead character, was handled subtly with a camera pan or an intentional edit.
While the movie incorporated elements from some familiar sources, most notably “Source Code” and “Groundhog Day,” director Doug Liman kept the story easy to follow and the action exciting to watch, making “Edge of Tomorrow” an unexpected summer surprise.