Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson

Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: June 6, 2014 Released by: Warner Brothers

A propulsive, high-concept sci-fi fantasy proves to be a fruitful (creative and even witty) union between director Doug Liman (up from Jumper and near the level of The Bourne Identity) and not so lately box-office friendly star and sometimes producer Tom Cruise (up a bit from Oblivion and Jack Reacher).

Edge of Tomorrow is not a revolting, reductive cinematic temporal loop with some gritty, convincing action sequences that call to mind the masterful Saving Private Ryan in a near-future alien (Mimics) assault on Europe.

Cruise's Lt. Col Bill Cage unwillingly gets cast out of his Public Relations complacency after upsetting some folks after American forces are deployed in Great Britain. Being on the front lines of an invasion in a military exoskeleton renders a reluctant, if craven soldier into (as the tagline says) "live, die, repeat" mode getting more chances to face his mortality after killing an oh-so tentacled invader. A reboot provides the opportunity to spend another day on the battlefield in a way that respectfully keeps an audience in the time paradox where Cage inadvertently can wrestle with his mojo in a déjà vu sense.

It's a somewhat interesting spin on the unlikeable leading man's arc into sympathetic hero (when not displaying his intrinsic Ethan Hunt charm in the "M: I" franchise). The apprehension and approach formulated by Liman and his unlikely protagonist thrust into action jolted into the same spot he occupied a day earlier graduates to a more important level than anything near his strategist pay-grade. There are variants on the resetting as certain demises can be rather jolting, but for a good amount of the running time the repetition of the cycle has emotionally resonant vantage points buffered by solid scene segue-ways.

A  principal, cognizant special forces soldier Rita Vrataski (a buffed Emily Blunt, having more to do here than opposite Matt Damon in The Adjustment Bureau as a romantic interest) is the key, combat-refining presence in the ongoing battle with turbulent E.T.s in many handheld, ballistic sequences (and a one-sided relationship). While there is needed comic relief from Bill Paxton currently in Million Dollar Arm and a no-nonsense Brendan Gleeson the cool, imaginative spectacle (especially from the lensing of Dion Beebe and the depiction and detail to the unrelenting antagonists) does lose its freshness in getting to the core of the "Omega" of a seemingly impossible mission to avert apocalypse as the high point is set in a locale below the Louvre.

Even if the title seems a tad wispy and soapy a game Cruise uncoils with a kind of assured self-deprecation (as many of his detractors won't mind the travails the cowardly character must endure). And, the thrills and imagination Liman supplies from a fairly well-structured screenplay based on the slickly titled novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka  does well with the intriguing premise which many will liken to Robocop and Source Code as well as (quite prominently given the antagonists) Starship Troopers weaved into the memorable Harold Ramis/Bill Murray collaboration Groundhog Day. Even if the underwhelming flooded finale probably induced by studio brainstorm marketing renders a Tomorrow less cutting-edge than how its time-travel and effects specialty ingratiates.

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Edge of Tomorrow  B+   B+   B   A            B+      B+ 
A Top Ten for 2014
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