Doug Liman returns to success with Edge of Tomorrow, the latest Tom Cruise-starring sci-fi summer blockbuster to completely exceed all expectations. Edge of Tomorrow is that rare treat of a film that provides endless amounts of entertainment, while also being something entirely different for mega-superstar Tom Cruise, proving yet again that the star is all about surprising audiences that have spent most of the past decade forgetting to show up for his work outside of the Mission: Impossible franchise. Edge of Tomorrow is everything Oblivion was not, which is me saying that it’s totally worth your money.
Cage (Tom Cruise) is a higher up officer for the U.S. Army that isn’t one for front line battles. He’s never really been in the war, which is now planet Earth versus an outside alien force that is wiping the planet clean. America and the rest of the allied nations have all but given up, which leads Cage to the war, which he tries so desperately to coward his way out of.
Something happens, which leads him to have the special ability of the alien enemy, which is power to control time and relive the same day over and over, as long as he dies before the day ends.
This leads him to Special Forces soldier Rita (Emily Blunt), a tough-as-nails and highly respected warrior that has experienced the same weird occurrence after taking down and defeating an alien opponent. Together, the two must figure out what this power means to them and how they can use it to end the war once and for all.
Edge of Tomorrow is director Doug Liman returning to the spotlight after over a decade of commercial disappointments. Liman isn’t exactly a “hot” director in the sense that most of his films are forgettable or are lacking any unique stylistic traits to pinpoint Liman as a strong filmmaker and not just some gun-for-hire. Here, he’s back in the director’s chair with lots of flowing creativity and style. Edge of Tomorrow isn’t just a generic sci-fi action flick, but instead an incredibly funny one that splits its time evenly between Tom Cruise laying waste to dozens of aliens and Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt building on two characters that aren’t exactly cookie cutter.
For starters, Cruise is playing a complete coward that has no battlefield experience whatsoever. This is very different from the usual cool and cocky bad ass type that Cruise usually associates himself with. Sure, he gets to bad ass mode by the end, but watching the character of Cage go from smooth talking idiot to tough and determined is quite the achievement and Cruise does it with natural ease.
Seriously, Cruise might just be one of the last great American actors out there or at least a very good one that constantly churns out quality performances that both test him as an actor and prove his dedication and hard work that he puts into each and every role that he picks. Cruise rarely phones things in and Edge of Tomorrow is a fine example of Cruise taking all of your typical expectations of him in this type of role and completely flipping them and spitting out something far more impressive.
Emily Blunt does impressive things too, providing a supporting performance that carries just as much weight as Cruises. This is done flawlessly due to Blunt’s energetic screen presence and director Doug Liman‘s evened focus not just on Cruise, but also on Blunt. He keeps their relationship the core of the film and expands on the sci-fi elements with lots of flashy set pieces and futuristic ass-kickery.
Edge of Tomorrow is full of well-filmed action that’s exciting and sometimes jarring, but always pulse-pounding. The 3D is a bit too much, especially during the close up war sequences, but most of the film suffers minimally from the extra dimension, which feels slightly post-converted, if not a complete money grab.
Still, this is a film that looked like a complete waste of time, if I’m being completely honest. The first trailer was mostly recycled genre garbage that hinted at nothing special or remotely unique, yet the end result is just that. Edge of Tomorrow is led by a performance by Cruise that we haven’t seen before and enough sci-fi action to make up for Oblivion and then some. Also, Liman’s ability to keep the film feeling constantly fresh, despite the repeating storyline is a blessing that I thought only Source Code could pay off in this day and age.
Not a single second of the film feels repetitive and that’s mostly thanks to Liman’s approach to the film’s uniquely confusing and sometimes silly concept, oh and Bill Paxton‘s excellent little slice of a role that will make you grin every single time.
Edge of Tomorrow is the first great movie of the summer and I wouldn’t be surprised if it holds onto that title until Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s everything expected out of an action film, plus another top notch Tom Cruise performance and an equally impressive supporting performance by Emily Blunt, all anchored down by Doug Liman‘s surprisingly fast-paced and thrilling direction, which rarely lets up for air and mostly spends its time digging deeper and deeper into the futuristic world that he’s created and revealed with detail and excitement.
Edge of Tomorrow – 8/10