Cruise Is Back Again and Again in Edge
An alien race has hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, unbeatable by any military unit in the world. Maj. Bill Cage is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously dropped into what amounts to a suicide mission. Killed within minutes, Cage now finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again and again. But with each battle, Cage becomes able to engage the adversaries with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski. As Cage and Vrataski take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy.
In Edge of Tomorrow, Tom Cruise plays Maj. William Cage, a cowardly Army PR flack who has never seen combat, but who gets sent to the front line to fight the spidery, octopus-like alien invaders called Mimics. The sci-fi action movie uses a day-repeating, time-loop strategy, so it is a mash up of Groundhog Day and Independence Day.
The story takes place in a seemingly near-future in which aliens battle to take over the world, having already annihilated a large swath of the human race. Legions of soldiers try to fight them off, to little avail. A key battle brings to mind the Normandy invasion.
Bravery is not Cage’s thing. He has zero intention of joining the fight. He only took the spokesman gig when he lost his advertising agency. So when British Gen. Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) orders Cage to report to the Atlantic front, his knee-jerk response is cowardice and self-serving manipulation. Insisting he’s not a soldier, just a guy who plays one on TV, Cage tries to blackmail the commanding officer. It’s never a good idea to threaten a four-star general.
Instead, Gleeson has Cage arrested and ships him to the front, where Cage wakes up on a pile of luggage and discovers he’s been demoted to private and will be off to battle the next day. He gets paired up with a group of misfits led by Master Sgt. Farell (Bill Paxton), instead of olive drabs, who are decked out in metal high-tech exoskeletons. Cage doesn’t survive the invasion, but wakes up back on that pile of luggage. Cage lives out the same day repeatedly, panicking, fighting and dying — living a bit longer each time.
On one of these recurring days he meets Special Forces Sgt. Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a legendary combatant dubbed “the Angel of Verdun.” Having herself been in Cage’s position of reliving a battle over and over, she trains Cage to be a soldier and they join forces and Cage falls in love with Vrataski.
How many heels does it get?
While the time-loop concept in Edge of Tomrrow is ingenious, the repetition grows tedious and resembles a video game. Cruise and Blunt have a measure of chemistry, however their characters go undeveloped. Director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) must both make light of death, lest we be ground into despair and rally us to care whether Cage lives. We chuckle when Vrataski shoots Cage like a fallen racehorse so the day can restart, but every time he jolts back to life we feel for his gulping, startled agony. The middle of the movie is an exhausting, with all the murder and restarting the day over and over and over. Screenwriters Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth toy with us as Cruise and Blunt make a daring dash for help. Will they outrun the Mimics, destroy the Alpha? But slowly we realize Cage himself isn’t scared: Practice makes perfect. Rated PG-13. Opens June 6, 2014.
My rating: 4 out of 5 Heels