Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow

It shouldn't work. A human-versus-aliens epic that keeps repeating the same scene over and over again as if the comic tilt of Groundhog Day had turned suddenly dangerous. But Edge of Tomorrow will keep you on edge. Guaranteed.

Tom Cruise had me at hello, playing Maj. William Cage, a glorified PR guy in uniform. During an interview with hawklike Gen. Brigham (Brendan Gleeson, chewing hungrily on a tasty role), Cage is condescending as hell, offering to help the general with his image in a war that seems unwinnable. Instead, the general sends the combat-unready Cage into battle. Effective immediately.

It's a treat to watch the typically heroic Cruise lose his shit, sweating and panicking at the thought of getting up close and personal with an alien race called Mimics. Cage, buried in combat armor and handed weapons no one has trained him to use, goes kicking and screaming into the alien fray, crying foul to his commanding officer (Bill Paxton). Yet there he is on a beach in France, ducking CGI creatures that look truly terrifying and staring in horror as Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a military goddess, is massacred. Cage dies next.

You heard me. He dies. Until director Doug Liman, channeling the cinematic pizazz he brought to The Bourne Identity, hits the reset button. Cage is forced to relive that same day until he gets it right. That means getting to Rita before the battle in question, persuading her to train him for combat and then, of course, falling in love. The cornball stuff never gets in the way, thanks to Blunt's grit and grace. She's a force of nature.

Working from an exuberantly clever script that Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and Jez and John-Henry Butterworth adapted from Hiroshi Sakurazaka's 2004 novel All You Need Is Kill, Liman keeps the action and surprises coming nonstop. OK, the end is a head-scratcher. Until then, Cruise and Blunt make dying a hugely entertaining game of chance.

From The Archives Issue 1211: June 19, 2014
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