Doug Liman’s directed Edge of Tomorrow sees Tom Cruise teaming up with Emily Blunt to save the world from a highly intelligent race of aliens called the Mimics. The Mimics are so named because of their ability to remember every strategic efforts and battle maneuvers they encounter during their countless battles with humans, thus making them nearly undefeatable. They are ruthless and swift learners who are intent on taking over this world and wiping out the human race. This wildly entertaining, brilliantly scripted film, jam-packed with eye-candy action scenes, thought-provoking suspenseful plots and well-paced humor, is based off of Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel called All You Need Is Kill.
In a not too distant future, the Mimics attack Western Europe and set off a war where humans have no chance of winning. The Mimics are a very sophisticated, highly evolved alien species that has the ability to manipulate time and reset an event to their advantage. At the top of this species hierarchy are the Alphas and its queen, the Omega, that controls and leads the Mimics into battles from a hidden location. If the Omega dies, so too will the rest of the Mimics because they are all intrinsically linked to the Omega for survival. The Alphas serve as the protector of the Omega as well as commanding officers in battles. If an Alpha gets killed, the Omega will automatically reset the event to give themselves another chance to do things differently (in a recourse to change the unfavorable outcome). The Omega also retains knowledge and memories of all preceding events that occurred before time is reset. So this is essentially a losing battle for humans no matter what they do. The only way to win is to kill the Omega, but locating it and getting close to it is almost impossible.
Tom Cruise plays Major William Cage who is ordered to cover the first wave of combat in Operation Downfall commissioned by General Brigham, the commander of the UDF, to take out the Mimics in an attempt to help out the Russian and the Chinese army that are fighting to save Eastern Europe. After several funny attempts to flee and avoid from getting drafted, Cage gets arrested and ordered to fight alongside the J Squad without any combat skills whatsoever. Watching Cruise’s skittish and neurotic reactions to the situation is hilarious.
The Mimics quickly ambush the crew as soon as they land on a beach in France. The entire team is annihilated within the first 15 minutes of battle but Cage manages to kill an Alpha right before he dies after being drenched in the alien’s acidic blood that burns through his face. The film then switches to a familiar scene that is shown earlier where Cage wakes up at the military base and is debriefed by an officer who gives him his uniform and boots. This same event is played out again and again and again (and again) in the same exact manner every time he dies because Cage is stuck in a time loop. His newfound ability is in part thanks to having absorbed the Alpha’s blood when he kills it the first time. It allows Cage the chance to improve situations and scenarios to his advantage as well as more time for him to train to become a better fighter.
During one of his ‘reset’ events, he meets Emily Blunt’s character, Rita Vrataski, known to many as the “Angel of Verdun”. Rita also possesses this ability at one time which helps her win the battle at Verdun, but she’s lost it some time ago and now relies on Cage to save the world. The two then work together through many mishaps and resets of events to outsmart the Mimics and locate and destroy the Omega.
This is a very clever, thought-provoking film with so much potentials for plot holes because of the convoluted storyline involving time travel. Surprisingly, I can’t think of even one plot hole to complain about due to the very well thought-out and excellent writing that perfectly covers all its bases and the exceptional editing that ties the events together seamlessly. Everything just makes sense in this movie. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt are both gifted actors who make their performances look very natural rather than forced. It’s great to see them both on screen together because they have great chemistry. The first time when I saw the trailer, I immediately questioned the premise of this movie.
How much of a story can you tell if Tom Cruise’s character dies over and over again?
I was under the impression that this movie attempts to mimic the situation that almost anybody who plays enough video games has experienced – play, die, “Game Over”, reset, try again. As gamers, we all know how frustrating it is when the game is unforgiving (think Demon’s Souls) that requires countless replays just to move to the next stage. The thought of having to watch that happens (as in watching someone play the same stage over and over again) just seems really dull and that is exactly how I feel about this movie when I first saw the trailer. On top of that, the idea of Tom Cruise going up against an alien species and playing the hero that stops them sounds too much like last year’s disappointing Oblivion.
But wow, what a treat! Edge of Tomorrow turns out to be much better than I expected and it’s not just all eye candy with no substance like Oblivion. It’s not only not boring to watch Cruise’s character play the same scenes over and over again, but it’s actually a lot of fun to see how his character work with Blunt’s character to figure out different scenarios and ways of doing things just to reach the Omega. This is because each time that the scene is repeated, you get to see Cage do something differently. Many times the results are silly in a terrific way and full of laugh out loud moments. Edge of Tomorrow is entertaining enough that by the time the 2 hours have gone by, I haven’t even realized that it’s been that long. In fact, this is one of those rare films where I actually didn’t want it to end.
I really enjoy rooting for Cage during the final acts of the film when he goes up against the Omega because of all the tension that’s built up to this point and this is something I haven’t felt during a movie in a long time. This film reminds me of the good old blockbusters of years past (before mindless CGI is favored over good storytelling). Edge of Tomorrow has the rare ability to totally immerse you into its story and lend credibility to both the characters and the plots while keeping you distracted from everything else. A hugely entertaining action movie of this caliber doesn’t come around often.
Here’s food for thought: What happens to the world each time that Cage dies? Does it, along with Rita, goes on living or does it immediately cease to exist?