BY Gina Tumlos
It’s pretty ballsy to kill Tom Cruise within the first few minutes of any film, but that is the premise Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow works with, and it does so with a steady hand and a clear, structured narrative. The movie is, admittedly, more fun to watch than expected. A sci-fi version of Groundhog Day, Tomorrow has the potential to keep the audience at the edge of their seat with its breathless action sequences as Cruise literally lives and dies on repeat.
Based on the Japanese novel All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Tomorrow stars Cruise as Major William Cage, a PR man who joined the army to sell the military’s combat suit as mankind’s only defense against the alien invasion. When ordered to appear on the frontlines, he balks but is nevertheless unceremoniously shipped to combat. While in action, Cage eventually kills a mimic (nee aliens), but because of the circumstances surrounding their encounter, the day resets every time he dies.
Reminiscent of any video game where the players–the audience through Cage–are made to start again whenever they kick the bucket, Tomorrow manages to avoid being tedious. Liman and his screen writer Christopher McQuarrie are able to pull off a movie stuck in a time loop with freshness and suspense every time Cage wakes up.
Cage is aided by Rita Vrataski, the poster girl of the war against the invasion, who herself had experienced the déjà vu nightmare Cage now finds himself in. Played defiantly by Emily Blunt, Vrataski succeeds at mercilessly shooting Cage point blank whenever she wants a reset. The montage of his repeated death/awakening by her hands is perhaps the most fun part of the film, especially whenever Cage begs her to not pull the trigger, but she does so anyway, living up to her nickname of “full metal bitch.”
Along with their scientist-turned-mechanic ally Dr. Carter (Noah Taylor), they figure out the reason why they live the same day over and over again and how to defeat the mimics at their own game. Taylor has the dirty job of explaining to the audience most of the story’s next steps, but thankfully, the rest of the film hurdles the clunky middle part and carries Cage and Vrataski to the final standoff.
The only thing in this movie worth complaining about is the forced romantic tension between the two leads. Sure, Cruise and Blunt are both ridiculously good-looking onscreen, but that in itself cannot create the chemistry Tomorrow tries very hard to exploit.
Moreover, it seems uncharacteristic of Vrataski to fall in love with a man she just met, especially since the movie has already set her up as a no-nonsense heroine.
Overall, Edge of Tomorrow is a fitting summer blockbuster for viewers who are seeking an adrenalin rush. IMAX- or 3D-viewing is recommended just for the added thrill, but seeing it in 2D would not take anything away from the promised pow wow.
Edge of Tomorrow, distributed by Warner Bros., opens in Philippine cinemas June 5, 2014.