“Edge of Tomorrow” is the Movie Mashup of the Year: A combination of “Groundhog Day” and “Independence Day”. In a near-future world in which aliens are about to wipe-out the human race, Major William Cage, an Army PR expert, is forced to become a soldier. He is killed almost immediately in his first battle, but then miraculously wakes-up, and is forced to relive the same day, and his death, over and over again.
As Cage (played by Tom Cruise is one of his career-best performances) is about to die in combat yet again he comes in contact with the Army’s top soldier. Rita (Emily Blunt) has become a symbol of hope for the people since she, somehow, is able to kill dozens of the aliens creatures single-handedly. They soon realize they have something in common – and that they are the only ones, if they work together, who can defeat the sinister, swirling, spider-like aliens and save the world.
The concept of “Edge of Tomorrow”, with its mix of time travel and sci-fi action, may sound a bit confusing, but on screen it plays like a finely-tuned suspense thriller. And that’s because this is one of the smartest scripts of the year. Adapted from the Japanese book, All You Need is Kill, the story is challenging but not complicated and surprisingly grounded for the alien/apocalyptic genre. Each time Cage experiences a new day, we get bits and pieces of information we didn’t know before, allowing us to feel like we’re a part of his amazing experience. The plot swerves, unraveling layers and excellent visuals combine to make this a stunningly enjoyable ride.
The Cage character starts-out afraid of battle and eventually becomes a fearless soldier. Cruise portrays this arc to perfection. He remains one of the best actors in the business in handling both action and conveying emotion in quiet moments. And there are plenty of those here with Blunt, whose Rita is both tough-as-nails and logically down-to-Earth. Director Doug Liman, who put Brangelina together for 2005’s “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”, has crafted another winning duo here. I would’ve liked the relationship storyline to have been explored a little deeper, but that may have taken away some of the mystery.
The supporting cast is led by Irish actor Brendan Gleeson as a general and Bill Paxton, who follows his solid work in “Million Dollar Arm”, with a nice turn as Cage’s hard-butt Commanding Officer.
“Edge of Tomorrow” is rated PG-13 for intense and authentic action/violence and language. It’s appropriate for kids 12 and up. This movie is creative and bold. It takes chances – and they all pay off. And even though it has one of the worst titles of the year (sounds like a soap opera) it is definitely one of the best films of 2014 so far.
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “Edge of Tomorrow” gets an A-.