Director: Doug Liman
Runtime: 113 minutes
Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, et al…
Plot (taken from IMDb): A military officer is brought into an alien war against an extraterrestrial enemy who can reset the day and know the future. When this officer is enabled with the same power, he teams up with a Special Forces warrior to try and end the war.
Edge of Tomorrow is an exciting science-fiction action movie that successfully mixes smart storytelling with great visuals and editing. Tom Cruise plays the unwilling hero of the piece (Cage), a military officer/advisor who is sent to the front-lines of a devastating war that the Earth just cannot seem to win. During the war, Cage learns of a special power he has that lets him come back to life after he dies – much like in a videogame; it’s a smart plot that certainly has fun with its premise.
The opening act of Edge of Tomorrow sees Cage coming to terms with his power, and, meeting his maker an awful lot. As the movie progresses, he learns how to fight better and better, thanks to knowing what’s coming around each corner. It’s a very strong opening to the film filled with humour in seeing the stupid ways he dies each time. The middle of the film however, goes into a bit of a slump – it becomes less exciting and spends perhaps too much time explaining what is going on.
Explanation is needed however, and it also gives time for each character to develop – particularly Rita, played by Emily Blunt who up to that point is a bit of a mystery and only known as ‘Full Metal Bitch’. The character development of Cage and Rita works rather well, and it does lead to a fair number of humorous moments – as she becomes Cage’s teacher. As I have already mentioned though, this part of the film does go on a bit, and it certainly isn’t as exciting as the opening of the movie.
The final act of Edge of Tomorrow is great fun though, despite a slightly underwhelming ending. What surprised me the most about this film is how violent it is, especially for a 12A rating – some of the action scenes are really quite aggressive. Despite this, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that the film held back a little, as to maintain a 12A rating; it almost felt as if it wanted to be more violent than it is. Director Doug Liman described Edge of Tomorrow as ‘Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers‘ and it certainly contains elements of both films – just lacking the ultra-violence of Starship Troopers.
However, the editing in Edge of Tomorrow is perhaps stronger than in either of the films mentioned above. Even in its slower moments in the plot, the film moves along at a brisk pace, and I loved that it didn’t show everything it didn’t need to – something other science-fictions don’t seem to understand. Edge of Tomorrow largely treats its audience as smart, only explaining key plot details when entirely necessary, you know what’s going on even if it isn’t shouted at you. This is down to a few aspects, good direction, good editing and a smart script.
However, there are some issues with Edge of Tomorrow, such as its length, which, at 113 minutes isn’t bloated, but it does drag a little in the middle of the film. The final act of the film also drags a little at times, so despite the brisk pace of the editing Edge of Tomorrow suffers small pacing issues. I think the decision to stick with a 12A rating backfired somewhat also; a rating of 15 would’ve allowed more power in the battle-scenes, and a bit of ultra-violence goes a long way in my book.
All of these issues unfortunately mark down what would otherwise have been a film of superb quality. It’s not the most enjoyable film you’ll ever watch, but if it were a bit leaner and more violent then it certainly would’ve been a film to remember. Despite this, Edge of Tomorrow definitely gets a recommendation from me thanks to its smart plot, cool action scenes and very strong opening.
Edge of Tomorrow is a good action sci-fi with a smart story backed up by some smart directing, quality editing and some stellar visuals. Whilst violent, a higher rating would’ve allowed more power and fun in the battle-scenes, not to mention in the many ways in which Cage dies. A weaker second and final act also drag what is otherwise a quality film down to some extent.