Edge of Tomorrow

By Peter Towe

Published on Saturday, June 14, 2014


While Edge of Tomorrow may not be a entirely unique idea (borrowing ideas from a few movies), it’s a film which at least for two-thirds are executed to perfection.  Edge of Tomorrow is a movie that fully embraces its identity and doesn’t try to do anything out of its element.  The story is tight, the acting is sharp, and up until the third act it’s almost flawless.  Not to say that the third act is bad, it just doesn’t live up to the first two and ends in a  slightly underwhelming fashion.  Besides a somewhat disappointing ending, Edge of Tomorrow’s special effects, acting, and themes were great, and in a time when all action movies become muddled together Edge of Tomorrow stands out and remains truly memorable.

Directed by Doug LimanEdge of Tomorrow is based on the Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, and written by Christopher McQuarrieJez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth.  Here’s the official plot synopsis.

The story unfolds in a near future in which a hive-like alien race, called Mimics, have hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, shredding great cities to rubble and leaving millions of human casualties in their wake. No army in the world can match the speed, brutality or seeming prescience of the weaponized Mimic fighters or their telepathic commanders. But now the world’s armies have joined forces for a last stand offensive against the alien horde, with no second chances.

Lt. Col. Bill Cage (Tom Cruise) is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously demoted and then dropped—untrained and ill-equipped—into what amounts to little more than a suicide mission. Cage is killed within minutes, managing to take an Alpha down with him. But, impossibly, he awakens back at the beginning of the same hellish day, and is forced to fight and die again…and again. Direct physical contact with the alien has thrown him into a time loop—dooming him to live out the same brutal combat over and over.

But with each pass, Cage becomes tougher, smarter, and able to engage the Mimics with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), who has lain waste to more Mimics than anyone on Earth. As Cage and Rita take the fight to the aliens, each repeated battle becomes an opportunity to find the key to annihilating the alien invaders and saving the Earth.

Say what you will about Tom Cruise, but the man is truly magnetic on screen.  Throughout his career, he’s starred in many sci-fi movies, but as of late, they seem to be his key to success.  There’s something about Cruise that works well with science fiction, following last year’s vaguely similar Oblivion, Cruise’s sole film of 2013.  Emily Blunt is the perfect compliment to Cruise, and she is one bad chick.  Blunt is an amazing actor, and her role required quite a bit of physical work.  The two worked well together, and they were primarily the only two actors with any sort of character development.  With Blunt and Cruise primarily the focus, all their co-stars had to do was set them up and they also executed their job admirably.  Most notably Brenden Gleeson’s General Brigham and Bill Paxton’s Master Sergeant Farrell Bartolome, who butted heads with Cruise throughout the movie.


The action sequences are the highlight and main draw of the film.  Director Doug Liman uses 3D and other advances in film making technology to immerse the viewer into the action like never before.  For the first two-thirds of the movie, you barely get a chance to catch your breath.  Typically when there’s too much action your senses get dulled, which was not the case for Edge of Tomorrow.  I was on the edge of my seat for the movie’s entirety, even during the weaker conclusion.  Aside from the action, Edge of Tomorrow features themes that are prevalent in both the past and future.

Since the dawn of time, man has been at war.  From tribes fighting over territory, to the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and more modern wars like WWII, and for the sake of comparison, D-Day.  Like in the film, the aliens (or Mimics) have taken control of Western Europe, much like what was taking place with the Invasion of Normandy.  Taking place in 1944, D-Day began the invasion of German-occupied Western Europe.  Substitute Nazi’s for aliens and add about 100 years, and you have almost the same situation.  Edge of Tomorrow has the tagline “Live, Die, Repeat’ as it pertains to Cruise’s character, but the line works with human nature as well.  Rarely do we learn from history, and have become doomed to repeat it.  That’s why humans in the movie find themselves in the same situation we faced in 1944 with the Nazi’s attempting to take over the world.  Expectations were rightfully high with the story’s conclusion, and while it was entertaining it stumbled to the finish line once the second act was over.


The problem a movie inevitably must face is the third and final act.  This is especially tricky with sci-fi films that often ask the the most philosophical questions.   Edge of Tomorrow starts off with a bang, and the only real snag it hits is the third act.  The film doesn’t live up to the potential and the well-established set-up in the first two acts.  Having said that, it wasn’t terrible just not as good.  I wasn’t as satisfied with the answers at the end as I was expecting, but most will still find it entertaining enough.

Edge of Tomorrow is an absolute thrill ride.  The battle sequences are completely immersive, and bring the audience right along side Cruise and Blunt.  Tom Cruise is ageless and is still a bonafide action star.  Emily Blunt was superb as the compliment to Cruise, and showed she can keep up with the best of them.  It may use a few ideas from other movies, but creates something uniquely distinguishable.  Edge of Tomorrow is the kind of movie that must be seen in the theater and in its 3D form.

Edge of Tomorrow is directed by Doug Liman and stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brenden Gleeson, Kick Gurry, and Dragomir Mrsic.


The Good

+ The action is beautifully shot

+ Incredibly engaging

The Bad

- Third act fails to live up to first 2/3 of the movie


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