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‘Edge of Tomorrow’ review: Don’t be fooled by its title


The world is under siege by a relentless alien invader.

In the science fiction movie Edge of Tomorrow, William Cage (Tom Cruise) is a woefully unskilled businessman turned-military brass in the United Kingdom who is  thrown into depths of a battle against the alien race. Brendan Gleeson plays General Brigham, a major from the UK who has enough authority to assign the American Cage to the J squad, a band of international misfits. Meanwhile, Bill Paxton (with a wink to his Aliens role) portrays tough Master Sergeant Farrell, who appears perfectly content in the knowledge that Cage won’t survive a day in battle.  Photo: www.highscorereviews.com

Cage finds himself living the same day over and over, because time gets reset when he dies.  Yes, the aliens have something to do with it. Special Forces soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) experienced the same issue previously, and figured out how to leverage her resets into a military strategy. While initially training with her (and eventually joining her in battle), Cage is intimidated by Rita’s strength and competence. However, as more time is spent together, the two begin to share more personal moments, only to start all over again.

Based on the book All You Need is Kill  by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, the screenwriters made predictable tweaks to Westernize it. The hero was Japanese and owed his inexperience in battle to his youth. This role is a bit of a departure for leading man Cruise. Cage is not a typical hero, but Cruise sells his evolution into one. Miraculously, Vrataski, the female character, has barely changed – in the book she’s American, in the film she’s British (they also made her about a decade older).  That speaks to the vibrant character Sakurazaka created. Blunt’s performance as the warrior Vrataski is outstanding – she can now add action star to her already impressive filmography.  She does this while seamlessly managing to have believable chemistry with every man she’s paired with (the film has a romantic center that enhances from the story).

Director Doug Liman, who helmed the brilliant first Bourne movie, deftly handles the time jumping sequences. In the book, this was a bit tedious, but in Liman’s skilled hands, the audience gets a taste of the tedium and disorientation. The jumps also showcase the supporting characters, and keep the story progressing. Liman keeps an insistent pace up til the very end, when things slow down a bit for the denouement.  The aliens are Mimics, and their speed, agility and ruthlessness made them the scariest creatures since the Alien franchise. The film made great use of London and Paris as its two main locations. After all, what’s a disaster movie without a toppled national treasure?

Don’t let the soap opera title fool you. This is a fun, thrilling movie.

Contact Diane Cooney at dcooney@philly2philly.com

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Photo: www.highscorereviews.com