Review – Edge of Tomorrow

Poster for 2014 sci-fi actioner Edge of Tomorrow

Genre: Sci-Fi
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 30th May 2014
Runtime: 113 minutes
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton, Noah Taylor
Synopsis: A PR guy who finds himself thrown into a brutal intergalactic war soon realises that he has the power to reset the day and relive the previous 24 hours of his life.

 

High-concept sci-fi is becoming a really valuable commodity in Hollywood, with auteurs such as Neill Blomkamp and Duncan Jones churning out really interesting genre movies. The latest entry in this wave is Doug Liman’s time-loop action movie Edge of Tomorrow, starring the ever-bankable Tom Cruise in the lead role. Like Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers, it’s an expensive tentpole blockbuster with real sizzle.

William Cage (Cruise) is a PR guy in the midst of a war between powerful aliens, called Mimics, and human armed forces. After a run-in with his General (Brendan Gleeson), he finds himself thrust onto the battlefront with little training and no chance of survival. However, after being doused with creature blood, he discovers that he has gained the power to reset time by 24 hours whenever he dies. With the help of expert soldier Rita (Emily Blunt), he attempts to use his new power to thwart the Mimic invasion.

Edge of Tomorrow is a stupid movie. There are moments when it feels sharp and intelligent, but they are undone almost immediately by bombast and insanity. In any other film that would be a handicap, but here it contributes to a blockbuster that is ludicrously entertaining throughout.

| "We should just reset."

Perhaps the best thing about Edge of Tomorrow is that it completely embraces its own ridiculousness. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a bad karaoke singer – completely free of dignity, but with refreshing self-awareness and a sense of fun. Too many recent blockbusters have refused to let tongue meet cheek, but Edge of Tomorrow really benefits from being free of inhibition.

Tom Cruise, especially, is brilliantly off the leash here. There’s a delightful juxtaposition to his character as his suit-wearing executive suddenly finds himself in a laughably insane mechanical battle suit fighting aliens. Emily Blunt is also clearly having a great time as she fires off quips whilst getting to shoot Tom Cruise in the head an awful lot. It’s only when the two characters tease a romantic relationship that their chemistry falters.

Mercifully, the potentially complex time travel mechanics at the centre of the film are kept very simple for most of the film’s running time. Taking its lead from Groundhog Day, the film generally abides by the simple 24 hour rewind, which avoids confusion. It isn’t until the nonsensical and infuriating ending that Edge of Tomorrow falls foul of what the cast of Doctor Who might call a “wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey” plot device.

| "I think there’s something wrong with your suit. There’s a dead guy in it.”

Despite a titanic cop-out at the end, Edge of Tomorrow deserves to be commended for mining a lot of fun from its smart central conceit. It is a riotous mess of a movie that does clever work with time travel and also takes a lot of joy in blowing up aliens.

 

Pop or Poop?

Rating: Pop!

Tom Cruise keeps his blockbuster hit rate going with Edge of Tomorrow, which is a witty movie that balances spectacle and silliness perfectly.

Cruise and Blunt are fun together, but falter when romance arrives on the horizon. The ending doesn’t really work and feels like a lazy escape, but until then, the film is a competent actioner with a sharp vein of humour running through it.

Its cinema run was woefully brief, but it’s definitely worth catching when it ends up in the shops.

 

Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.

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