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Review: Edge of Tomorrow

June 6, 2014

By John Corrado

***1/2 (out of 4)

Edge of Tomorrow Poster

Audiences will have no problem virtually reliving the same day over again in Edge of Tomorrow, which has a plot that ingeniously repeats itself, while still feeling fresh every step of the way.

Warner Bros. is releasing Edge of Tomorrow today, and the studio should score big.  This is one of the best blockbusters of the year so far, and a film that I already look forward to revisiting.

At the start, we are told via news clips of the ongoing war between humans and aliens, with Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) having created the mechanized “jackets” being used to fight the terrifying creatures known as Mimics.

When Cage oversteps his boundaries and stands up to the sleazy General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson), he is handcuffed and shipped off to a training camp, where he is sent to fight on the beaches of France, only to be killed in battle.

But then he wakes up back at the base, and is forced to relive and die the whole day over again, every time gaining more training and experience.  The only one who understands is Rita Vratski (Emily Blunt), the most celebrated soldier on the field, who had the same thing happen to her during the battle at Verdun that made her famous.  She sees his power as a way to finally infiltrate the alien threat at the source, simply killing him and resetting the entire day every time something goes wrong.

Although portions of the plot keep repeating themselves in different ways, the film is never predictable, and I wouldn’t think of spoiling any more of the story.  Now is probably a good time to mention that comparisons to the 1993 Harold Ramis and Bill Murray masterpiece Groundhog Day are inevitable, right down to the first names of their respective female leads.  But Edge of Tomorrow comes up with its own logic and reasoning for the repeated days, adapted from the popular novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.

This is a blast of popcorn filmmaking that is at least as much fun as Top Gun, which first made Tom Cruise an action star back in 1986.  Tom Cruise similarly rocks the leading role in Edge of Tomorrow, delivering some of his strongest work in years both in the hardcore action sequences and moments of emotional desperation, as his character is faced with death over and over again.  Emily Blunt more than holds her own alongside him, bringing to life a refreshingly strong female character who is just as much of a fighter as her male counterparts.

The film also comes alive thanks to the brilliant editing, a vibrant filmmaking device that is expertly used to continuously reset the plot, providing jump thrills alongside some welcome doses of dark humour.  It’s all of these elements that give Edge of Tomorrow an extra added jolt, and make the film more clever and exhilarating than your average summer blockbuster.  The spectacular cinematography and sharp script keep us genuinely engaged right up to the perfectly framed final scene, which can be taken at face value or endlessly discussed while leaving the theatre.

At a brisk pace of 113 minutes, Edge of Tomorrow is a piece of smart science fiction filmmaking from director Doug Liman that also has fun with the central premise, holding us in tight suspense while offering a breathlessly entertaining thrill ride.

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