Edge of Tomorrow

5 Jun

edge

What is it?  A science-fiction war movie, with a fair dose of humor.  Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers

Who’s it by?  Doug Liman (Matt Damon’s Bourne movies, Mr. and Mrs. Smith)

Who’s in it?  Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton

What’s it About? In a world which has been invaded by aliens, world military forces are massing in London for a final offensive strike. Major William Cage (Cruise), a US Army Public Relations officer, is ordered to the front lines to cover the assault.  When he refuses, he finds himself at the staging ground with papers identifying him as a Private with a penchant for desertion and cowardice.  The next day, he ships out with a ragtag squad at the point of the assault, and is soon in the heat of the fighting.  With no training, let alone combat experience, he lives just long enough to realize the attack is a total massacre.  And then he wakes up on the staging ground, the only one who realizes he’s already lived the upcoming day.

How is it?  Very good.  Cruise immediately comes across as a vapid talking head, so it’s no surprise when it’s revealed that he has no combat experience, and no interest in gaining any.  His repetition of the day in question, including increasing amounts of training, make his development into a super-capable fighting machine fully believable, within the suspension of disbelief necessary for enjoyment of such a movie.  Blunt, as the hero of a previous battle and the face of the victory effort and Cage’s training partner, shows a steely determination and no-nonsense grit that was barely hinted at in her previous comedic and romantic roles.  Bill Paxton gives a nice supporting turn as the continually smiling Master Sergeant who torments Cage day after day on the same day.

Doug Liman shows a great facility for directing huge action scenes.  Soldiers wear huge, clanking exoskeletons which give them both mobility and firepower.  The aliens are depicted as whirling, spinning masses of tentacles  capable of multiterrain combat but vulnerable to human weapons., But Limon also wields a deft hand at injecting humor into the proceedings without it feeling gratuitous or added on.  The pacing is brisk, with no lags, and scenes are repeated for just the right length and just the right number of times for them never to feel labored.

In a summer that’s already presented a number of fine action movies that represent sequels to or variations of previous movies (Godzilla, X-Men Days of Future Past, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and The Amazing Spider-Man), Edge of Tomorrow offers a not entirely derivative summer blockbuster.

My rating:

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