‘Edge of Tomorrow’: a taut but familiar Tom Cruise vehicle
A three-star movie review of “Edge of Tomorrow”: Tom Cruise plays his action-blockbuster self in this “Groundhog Day”/“Source Code”/alien movie, with slick direction by Doug Liman and a transfixing supporting turn by Emily Blunt.
Seattle Times movie critic
Movie Review ★★★
‘Edge of Tomorrow,’ with Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton, Jonas Armstrong. Directed by Doug Liman, from a screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth, based on the novel “All You Need Is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. 113 minutes. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material. Several theaters.
Tom Cruise’s acting career, for the most part, can be divided neatly into two kinds of movies and performances: oddball supporting roles, in which he lets himself — and us — have some fun (i.e. “Rock of Ages,” “Tropic Thunder,” “Magnolia”), and leading roles in big-budget films, in which he essentially runs around saving the world (literally; the man always seems to be running), equipped with a set jaw and an extremely purposeful expression. He does this latter kind of performance quite well, within its limitations, but you do tend to feel like it’s the same movie over and over.
Enter Doug Liman’s “Edge of Tomorrow,” which despite its soap-opera-ish title is a big-budget action flick in which Cruise runs around trying to save the world, over and over. And it’s a good vehicle for him, with a screenplay clever enough to keep our interest, and a directorial hand (Liman’s best known for his taut “The Bourne Identity”) that never lets the pace slacken.
Cruise plays Major William Cage, a military PR guy (perfect; Cruise’s slick grin fits right in) who’s never seen combat — until he’s sent to battle an alien force bent on destroying the world. Along the way, he slips into a time loop, condemned to keep living that day again until he gets it right.
So what we have here is a sort of “Groundhog Day”-meets-“Source Code”-meets-alien-movie, and that’s a fairly fresh mash-up. Emily Blunt, a gifted actress who occasionally dips a toe into the action-movie world (see “The Adjustment Bureau”; really, do), makes a tough, transfixing warrior sidekick. (“You don’t talk much,” he says to her. “Not a fan,” she replies. Of talking, that is.) The aliens, which look like enormous metal spiders, have a weird beauty to them (one of them seemed to be rendered from charcoal and sapphire), and the whole thing should go down quite nicely with popcorn. It won’t change the course of Cruise’s career, but at least it mixes up the formula.
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