Sunday, June 15, 2014

"Edge of Tomorrow" Review - Written by Tim Hellman

'EDGE OF TOMORROW': Five Stars (Out of Five)

Tom Cruise stars in this big budget sci-fi action flick based on the Japanese 'young-adult book' (referred to as a 'light novel' in Japan) 'All You Need Is Kill', by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.  It was directed by Doug Liman (who's also directed such hit movies as 'SWINGERS', 'GO', 'THE BOURNE IDENTITY', 'MR. AND MRS. SMITH' and 'JUMPER') and written by Christopher McQuarrie and Jez and John-Henry Butterworth; the Butterworths also wrote the 2010 political thriller 'FAIR GAME' (which Liman also directed).  McQuarrie previously worked with Cruise on 'VALKYRIE' (which he co-wrote) and 'JACK REACHER' (which he wrote and directed).  This movie also stars Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson and Noah Taylor.  It's a clever and fun thrill ride that's as much a thinking man's action film as an effects filled alien/war flick.

The story begins five years into a war with an invading alien species called Mimics.  The Mimics are winning and about to take control of Continental Europe as the United Defense Forces, UDF (combined NATO armies), introduces a new weapon to their soldiers called 'Jackets'.  'Jackets' are mechanized exoskeleton body armor; which one soldier, Rita Vrataski (Blunt), used to kill hundreds of Mimics at Verdun (giving her the nickname 'Angel of Verdun').  A UDF spokesman, named Major William Cage (Cruise), has made a career out of promoting military products, like the 'Jackets', to the public.  When a UDF commander, named General Brigham (Gleeson), wants Cage to join beach forces in France (in order to report on them), Cage blackmails the General in an attempt to get out of it.  Brigham then has Cage arrested, stripped of his rank and shipped to the London Heathrow Airport; where he's ordered to join the forces in combat there.  His worst fears come true when the Mimics slaughter the UDF armies and kill Cage.  To his surprise he wakes up a day earlier and finds himself continually repeating that day; until he can some how change things and stop the Mimics.  He of course joins forces with Vrataski, who seems to know what might be happening to him.  

The film is sort of like a sci-fi/action version of 'GROUNDHOG DAY' but that doesn't mean you've seen anything like it before.  It's completely original and different than any other potential summer blockbuster you might see this year (or any other).  The script is brilliant, Liman's directing is perfectly fitting (to the material) and the acting is superb.  Cruise gets to play a cocky pussy in the beginning of the movie and then evolves into a precise 'killing machine'.  He makes a great reluctant hero and this is one of his better performances.  Blunt is hot and also an awesome action heroin; she just kicks so much ass, the entire movie.  It's also great to see Bill Paxton as another soldier (this time an officer) killing aliens again (it's an awesome homage to 'ALIENS').  It's definitely one of the best movies of the year (so far), so of course it's one of the least successful (so far).  It is doing really well overseas though (where Cruise is still a huge star) so it should at least make it's money back.  It's just a shame more people won't see it on the big screen domestically; they'll definitely be missing out!

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