Edge of Tomorrow Movie Review
Some people hate Tom Cruise. Other people love him. His new sci-fi action movie Edge of Tomorrow offers something for everyone: you get to watch Tom Cruise die over and over and over and over again, while experiencing one of the most exciting, entertaining and unique entries of the 2014 summer movie season.
In Edge of Tomorrow, directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), Cruise plays an untrained soldier who is thrust into a D-Day-esque invasion of France to thwart an alien army. But through a series of circumstances that only make sense if you don't think about them, he reawakens hours earlier every time he dies in battle, allowing him the opportunity to figure out a way to defeat the invaders.
Time travel movies are always risky and, naturally, Edge of Tomorrow isn't without its plot holes, but screenwriters Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and the Butterworth brothers (Fair Game) have turned Hiroshi Sakurazaka's novel into a fast-paced, entertaining thrill ride that hooks you early and doesn't let go until the final few minutes.
Cruise delivers a fine performance, but it is his chemistry with the equally good Emily Blunt that helps make Edge of Tomorrow work so effectively. They play off each other well, which in turn makes you want them to survive—even if they are both destined to die endless times. The filmmakers thankfully downplay any romantic interest between the two—after all, there is little time for romance when aliens are about to take over the world—while developing their relationship throughout the story.
But more importantly, Edge of Tomorrow is action-packed and intense, with doses of morbid humor thrown in for good measure. The movie is smart, unique and generally unpredictable. While the time travel twist could have easily become repetitive and tiresome, the filmmakers manage to avoid most of the possible pitfalls.
The movie isn't perfect, however. The aliens themselves are unremarkable, cheap copies of the robots in The Matrix, and their motivations and strategies aren't explained as much as they should have been. This lack of detail comes into play in the climax, which could have been a battle of wits but instead is a largely generic (but not unexciting) action finale. The film's final few minutes are by far its weakest; the denouement doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and seems added to appease some Hollywood executive (spoiler) who wanted a more uplifting ending.
Despite a few minor flaws, Edge of Tomorrow is one of the most exciting and unique movies of 2014, and a must-see for any action fan. And you get to see Tom Cruise die over and over and over again. And then once more.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.