Well, this is a shocker! We had seen the previews for "Edge of tomorrow", which we usually don't get at film screenings, and, though I love Emily Blunt and also Tom Cruise (which isn't popular these days), I must admit I thought the movie looked a little dull, with too much action. Boy, was I wrong!
"Edge of Tomorrow" is a total blast --- the first film of this genre that I have really enjoyed in ages. It's appealing because Cruise's character, Major William Cage, starts out as a smug, "PR" military dweeb --- or a coward, as he's quickly labeled --- and he is then forced, much to his chagrin, to battle the unknown aliens which are terrorizing Earth, and threatening life as we know it.
The premise is simple --- in a beach landing, much like Normandy in World War II, Cage is attacked and killed by a larger version of this alien species. But its DNA has gotten into Cage's blood enabling him to come back to life.
The only one who understands what he is going through is Rita Vrataski (Blunt), a Special Forces op responsible for single-handedly winning the previous major battle. However, she has since lost the ability Cage has because of a blood transfusion. So it is imperative that Cage die repeatedly --- with every setback instead of living wounded.
This is where the fun begins. As opposed to "X-Men: Days of Future Past", which took itself way too seriously, "Edge of Tomorrow" provides us with a rousing good time. Watching Cage plead with Rita not to shoot him again because he's only got a broken leg, or arm, or whatever, is, in a perverse way, rather amusing. Poor Cage gets banged around quite a bit during training, and per Cruise's instructions, much of it is real live action.
Director Doug Liman of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" and "Bourne Identity" fame, has gotten quite a reputation as a P.I.T.A. (pain in the ass) around Hollywood, so much so that many studios don't want to work with him. But he does manage to produce a science fiction, edge-of-your-seat thriller that plays well in 3-D.
At first, when it was announced that Cruise was to play this character, one wondered how much longer he can pull this off. But he looks remarkably fit, and his hair isn't nearly as dark and helmet-head looking as in pictures past. He appears to behaving a grand old time, which makes it all the more enjoyable for the audience.
Blunt looks terrifically buff. She's not exactly the first actress you would choose to consider for a role like this. She's so beautiful and dainty, she seems better suited for the roles she's played before. It turns out, she's enormously convincing as an action hero, and her droll sense of humor is equally endearing.
"Edge of Tomorrow" is a definite must-see on the big screen in 3-D. It's a wonderful way to start off the summer blockbuster season.
Opinion: See It Now!
The timing couldn't be better for Tom Cruise to come out with a very exciting movie that promises to be a summer smash. His penchant for doing science fiction films was ill-rewarded with last year's inconsequential "Oblivion" However, "Edge of Tomorrow" will have movie fans on the edge of their seats, as Cruise and co-star Emily Blunt display a savvy combination of intrepidness and humor.
Major William Cage (Cruise) is essentially an army marketer, with neither the willingness nor the mettle to engage in battle with the enemy. When gruff General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) orders him on the front lines to partake in a Normandy-like landing to confront an alien threat, Cage balks at the idea and tries to flee like a common coward --- very un-Cruise like.
It's hard to blame him, though, when the good general informs him that virtually all the soldiers in the landing party will die. Of course, an action film starring Cruise will soon enough convert him from craven to courageous. He has the ample assistance of the fearless warrior Rita (Blunt), and when Cage can relive his death, again and again, it buys them time to construct a plan to defeat the spider-like creepy crawlers.
Cage reboots his life-and-death 23 times, compared to 35 times that Bill Murray's character relived his existence in "Groundhog Day". The first few times this happens Cage is stuck on the eve of the invasion with a less-than-friendly army platoon that labels him a deserter, led by Master Sergeant Farell (Bill Paxton in an hilarious turn). But the filmmakers constantly keep things fresh and inventive, providing us with a different perspective of Cage's learning curve.
It's all quite entertaining. And there are enough breaks from all the savagely-staged battle scenes that we get the chance to enjoy the by-play between Cage and Rita. Who would've guessed that a pistol aimed at the head of the movie's hero would be so amusing?
I was most appreciative that the casting director used basically unknown faces and names to fill the remaining speaking parts. That tactic lends itself to virtually no distractions for the viewer, unlike other films that pack their story with many familiar faces.
Director Doug Liman has hits (The Bourne Identity", 2002), misses ("Jumper", 2008) and so-so films ("Mr. & Mrs. Smith", 2005) under his belt, but he has struck cinematic gold with "Edge of Tomorrow". For Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie ("The Usual Suspects", 1995), this is his third collaboration with Cruise ("Valkyrie", 2008, and "Jack Reacher", 2012). He also penned last year's under-appreciated "Jack the Giant Slayer".
"Edge of Tomorrow" is one of those films deserving of its 3-D premium. It's constantly diverting, and it is one of Cruise's all-time best performances.
Opinion: Strong See It Now!