Starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. Rated PG. Opens Friday, June 6
If 30 years of watching Tom Cruise grin and run across the silver screen has made you want to see his character suffer gruesomely, Edge of Tomorrow is the movie for you. Audiences can finally revel in the sight of the diminutive superstar being shot, stabbed, burnt, crushed, eaten by hideous space monsters, run over, and exploded.
Unlike the villain in MacGruber, these splattery endings are not suffered simultaneously, but are dispensed at regular, cruel intervals.
Cruise plays Major Bill Cage, an inexperienced desk officer in a near-future army, thrust into frontline combat against the spacefaring invaders as punishment for cowardice and insubordination.
Although given an armoured exoskeleton and the example of Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a soldier so legendary that she has two nicknames (The Angel of Verdun and Full Metal Bitch), Cage is eliminated seconds into his first battle.
However, in that first dying, Cage has the good (or bad) fortune of being accidentally incorporated into the aliens’s technology, which allows him to restart his day after being killed. These extra lives permit him to gain guidance from Vrataski, along with the horrible deaths that he gets to remember along with his lessons.
Doug Liman proved his action chops in The Bourne Identity and Jumper, and imbues the massive battles with plausibility and comprehensibility. He also directs good work from Cruise and Blunt in the quieter moments, finding the layers in the coward and bitch. It’s fun watching them get to know each other over a relationship that only one of them remembers.
This dynamic is as reminiscent of Groundhog Day as the combat is of Starship Troopers. Therefore, the movie has already been dubbed Groundhog Troopers, a more interesting title than the generic Edge of Tomorrow.
The original title, All You Need Is Kill (from the Japanese light novel that provides the source material) is distinctive, somewhat goofy, and darkly entertaining—highly apropos of the rather excellent movie that has come from it.