Edge of Tomorrow is the latest film from Doug Liman, who has brought us Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Jumper and The Bourne Identity. All were good films in their own element and all different. Edge of Tomorrow is based on the novel ‘All You Need Is Kill’ written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and the film was going to be originally called, ‘Kill, Kill, Kill’ then they opted for the more PC title, ‘Live, Die, Repeat. They have kept ‘Live, Die, Repeat’ as the tag line for the poster but managed to come up with ‘Edge of Tomorrow’. I guess it works as a title. At any rate, Edge of Tomorrow is a clever science fiction action film that is kind of a cross between Groundhog Day and Pacific Rim. If that does not peak your interest then you might want to skip it, but that would be a mistake. The film stars Tom Cruise as Cage, a public relations attaché for the military who is sent to boot camp in preparation for a huge offensive Earth is getting ready to execute. Cage has never seen action before, has very little training but has little voice in the matter. But he is sent to a unit which employ special suits to fight the alien hordes. Each day he is killed but finds himself in a time loop where he wakes up the previous day, knowing what will happen in the battle. This is a valuable lesson and could turn the tide of the war. If only, they learn from their mistakes. There are other, more supernatural elements in the story but since I am recommending this film, I don’t want to ruin it by saying anything further.
Edge of Tomorrow could have been a mess, given the plot. If Liman and writers Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth simply repeated each day from start, it would have been a nightmare to sit through. Credit the filmmakers for giving their audience some credit for being smart enough to know what is happening without rehashing the same scenes over and over again. The screenplay is smartly written and the characters are interesting especially the arrival of Earth’s foremost warrior, Rita, played by the smolderingly sexy, Emily Blunt. She is fierce, fearless and has a mental connection to Cage who seems to be connected to the alien psyche. They have interesting chemistry as a screen couple, but the film does not oversell it; less is more, here. There are some scenes that we have seen before, as the two fall in love, but it works for the film. There are a couple of other scenes we have seen before such as an extended training montage that is funny in spots, but it is nothing we have not seen done in countless films. Still it has a nice touch and works for the film, for the most part. The cast all turn in solid performances and we care about what happens to them.
In addition to the sharp script, direction and action, I have to give a hat tip to Cinematographer Dion Beebe and Film Editor James Herbert who have created a vibrant world of the aliens and have the film cut to a quick pace so that we are up on all of the action and characters without a lot of extra nonsense to get back to that point. This is an exceedingly well edited film and for a film like this, it HAS to be otherwise we are all snoozing in our seats. Christophe Beck’s score is a hybrid of electronics and orchestral arrangements and it is quite effective for the battle sequences which are plentiful and the music gets you right into the action. Beck is an excellent composer who struck gold with Frozen and he gets it done, here with Edge of Tomorrow. I also got a kick out of Bill Paxton as the drill instructor who comes across as a combination of an priest and a door to door salesman, complete with a prepared speech for each recruit.
Edge of Tomorrow was a flop at the box office, sadly. Costing 178 million dollars to make, it barely broke 100 million in ticket sales. I think it will eventually recoup the cost of production, although it may take a while. That is too bad. Edge of Tomorrow, although not perfect, is fun, crafty, has a sly wit and loads of great action. All the expensive cost on screen looks great, is put to good use and the meat of this film is in Liman’s direction and the screenplay. They all work and, despite some hiccups, Edge of Tomorrow is a good night at the movies.
Edge of Tomorrow-*** out of 4