Film Review by Kam Williams
Tom Cruise Rises to the Occasion as Reluctant Hero in Time-Travel Sci-Fi
William Cage (Tom Cruise) is lucky to have risen to the rank of Major in the U.S. Army without ever seeing any combat, since he can’t stand the sight of blood, not even a paper cut. So, you can imagine his surprise the day that he’s informed by his superior (Brendan Gleeson) that he’ll be shipping out soon to England to lead a D-Day style invasion of France. The aim of the mission is to take back Western Europe from an army of intelligent alien invaders called Mimics because of an uncanny ability to stage sophisticated counterattacks.
When Cage attempts to decline the dangerous assignment, General Brigham explains that he’s just been given an order, not an offer. And when he still proves reluctant to obey, he is summarily stripped of his stripes and forced to join a motley unit of troublemakers known as J Squad, operating under the command of a no-nonsense sergeant (Bill Paxton) capable of keeping anybody in line.
Shortly thereafter, they ship out aboard a plane as part of an international squadron of troops which proceeds to parachute onto a beach that looks like a slaughterhouse. The allies’ firepower is being easily overmatched by that of the enemy, and it isn’t long before Cage takes a fatal shot to the chest.
However, he is dead only briefly before finding himself transported back in time to the moment he met Sergeant Farrell a few hours before, when he was roused out of a stupor by the Southerner’s thick drawl of “On your feet, maggot!” Somehow, Cage has been given a reprieve, a second chance to exhibit expertise and heroics on the battlefield. In fact, he is subsequently killed again and again and, like your typical computer game, is thereby afforded umpteen opportunities to start over and improve his strategy against the seemingly-invincible Mimics.
Cage is ably assisted in this endeavor primarily by Special Forces soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), aka the Full Metal Bitch, the only other person aware of his recently-acquired ability to reincarnate. Therefore, it falls to these two strangers to save the planet from the alien scourge bent on world domination.
Thus unfolds Edge of Tomorrow, a mind-bending sci-fi based on All You Need Is Kill, a graphic novel originally published By Hiroshi Sakurazaka in Japan in 2004. Directed by Doug Liman (Mr. & Mrs. Smith), this action-oriented thriller revolves around a plot device famously explored in both Groundhog Day (1993) and Source Code (2011).
Nevertheless, Liman has put a refreshing spin on the time machine genre, and keeps you enthralled by holding his cards close to the vest as he keeps you guessing about the series of thoroughly unpredictable developments that transpire. Just when everybody was ready to count Tom Cruise’s career out for the count, not only is he back, but back again and back again and back again, ad infinitum!
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, intense violence and brief sensuality
Running time: 113 minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers