Review by C.J. Bunce
The challenge will fall to the coming years. Watching and re-watching Edge of Tomorrow to count how many days take place in the movie. How many days Tom Cruise’s character dies. How many days Emily Blunt kills him, putting a new spin on the phrase “blunt force trauma”. if you read movie ads or trailers none of these are a surprise. Live. Die. Repeat. No more apt tagline has ever been attached to a movie.
For decades soldiers could look to classic war movies for inspiration. John Wayne performances, like his Sgt. Stryker from Sands of Iwo Jima or Gregory Peck’s General Savage come to mind. Michael Ironside left an enduring mark with his Lt. Raszcak in Starship Troopers. Now there’s a new movie to absorb some inspiration to take action, survive, and maybe even win in that next impossible battle beyond the next trench.
Loosely based on the world created by 39-year-old Japanese author Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s war novel All You Need is Kill, which we gave rave reviews to earlier here at borg.com, Edge of Tomorrow is also completely different. If you think you want to read the novel before the movie, hold off. The first 30 minutes might leave you frustrated. If you haven’t read the novel, Edge of Tomorrow stands by itself as a butt-kicking, take no prisoners, tale of a future in its last days before domination by an otherworldly threat. That said, after the movie you’ll be in for an even better ride with the book.
The action and war sequences will have you comparing it to Aliens and Predator. The otherworldly threat is of the Ender’s Game and Starship Troopers variety. The story’s hook will have you thinking of the best video game you ever played. Sakurazaka’s well-developed world, steeped in good science fiction tradition, is key to making this otherwise improbable story play out in an engaging way that will have you quickly jumping in for the ride. The hook is the Groundhog Day reset of each day, and that part is a good part of the fun, but you’ll find a lot more with these characters and their persistence.
Tom Cruise can’t make a bad action film. When did he surpass Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, and Bruce Willis as the world’s biggest action hero? Here the novel is adapted to fit Cruise in the role of one of many soldiers with a supersuit of military armor. Equal to Cruise’s performance is rising star Emily Blunt, who we loved in The Adjustment Bureau and Looper. She’s played a great survivor in her prior films, and here she is A+ grade action heroine, and as we hoped, she creates a memorable character on par with Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor. Add in the fact that Blunt was pregnant when she was filming all those incredibly choreographed action scenes and… wow.
Credit goes to director Doug Liman, known for his Jason Bourne movies, for some interesting and effective decisions in veering from the source material, and a killer action soundtrack by Christophe Beck (RIPD, Muppets Most Wanted).
In a summer with some great flicks, like X-Men: Days of Future Past, Edge of Tomorrow may arrive as the summer blockbuster not to be missed.