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Review: Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow
06.05.2014
8 10

PLOT: A cowardly Major (Tom Cruise) is thrown into battle against alien invaders, but upon his almost immediate death on the battlefield, he discovers that he's somehow acquired the ability to relive the last two days of his life over and over. With the help of a legendary soldier (Emily Blunt) who experienced the same thing, he's able to hone his skills in battle and come up with a plan that just might be the key to saving humanity from being wiped out.

REVIEW: It's been my experience as both a critic and a filmgoer that Tom Cruise movies rarely go wrong. Having been a star for thirty years, he knows what works and what doesn't, so it's no surprise that EDGE OF TOMORROW, despite a somewhat familiar plot (with heavy shades of GROUNDHOG DAY and SOURCE CODE), is an incredibly slick, entertaining ride. Adapted from the novel “All You Need is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, and punched up by one of Cruise's regular collaborators – the great Christopher McQuarrie – Cruise is ideally cast in a role that both pokes fun at his he-man image and celebrates it.

In the opening scenes, which efficiently explain that Earth is under attack by a kind of parasitic alien force, Cruise is established as a slicker-than-slick media relations man for the military – a kind of Jerry Maguire in  uniform. He seems to be having a ball early on, milking lots of laughs out of his character's cowardly nature as he's thrown into battle by his exasperated general (Brendan Gleeson) and a gung-ho sergeant (a hilarious Bill Paxton). With the premise emphasizing video game-like repeats, you can reasonably assume it doesn't take Cruise too long to become the action hero we expect him to be. Nevertheless, director Doug Liman full-on satirizes and subverts Cruise's image more than once, with his de-facto love interest, played by an incredibly fit Emily Blunt, serving as the battle-ready heroine along for the ride and trying hard to keep up. One of the biggest laughs comes early on where a pre battle-hardened Cruise tries to pull off an Ethan Hunt-style move that ends disastrously and it's a bit of a treat to finally see him once again play a character that's at least a little vulnerable. Of course, by about halfway through he's the invincible man of action we've come to expect, but the build-up is fun to watch.

What's really refreshing is how fleshed out Blunt's character is. Anyone who's sick of seeing Cruise rescue damsels in distress will be pleased at how much of a heroine she is in her own right, and Blunt is very impressive in the part. She conveys a Sigourney Weaver-style toughness mixed with the vulnerability of knowing that next to Cruise, she's the expendable one. One would have never imagined the acid-tongued receptionist of THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA would make such a natural action heroine, but she's absolutely terrific.

Liman also deserves a lot of credit for not getting too bogged down in the action-die-repeat formula of the plot that could have been milked to death, ringing a few laughs and thrills out of the gimmick and moving on before it gets tiresome. Liman tends to make lean movies, and this clocks in at a tight 115 minutes, with nary a wasted scene, and at least half a dozen good action sequences cleverly staged and shot. The initial beach attack scene plays out like a sci-fi version of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, and is convincingly brutal and chaotic. These early scenes also benefit tremendously from the fact that it's in 3D, although the night time sequences feel a little murky behind the darkened glasses.

On the whole, EDGE OF TOMORROW feels like the ideal summer blockbuster, in that it's loaded with action and spectacle, but also has a bit of heart at the center of it. The chemistry between Blunt and Cruise makes it feel like more than just eye-candy (although there's plenty of that) and while it maybe suffers from one twist too many toward the very end, it's still a superb summer thrill-ride. Hopefully it'll find the audience it deserves.

Source: JoBlo.com

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