Tom’s Cruise latest sci-fi movie was originally known as All You Need Is Kill (based on the book of the same name), before the title was then changed to the uninspiring Edge of Tomorrow. After a so-so trailer where only co-star Emily Blunt seemed to be of any interest, I was sure this film would be as generic as the title. Still with a spare Sunday afternoon to myself I wondered into my local cinema to see if it can impress me. But will this movie inspire repeat viewings?
Set in the near future where mankind is battling aliens nicknamed Mimics, William Cage(Tom Cruise) is a smarmy PR guy who is suddenly thrown unwillingly into the front line. When he dies on the battlefield he somehow finds himself repeating the same day all over again. The day always end with him dying and the process starting over and over again. The only person who believes him is war hero Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), together they try to help Cage survive the day and win the war.
You can imagine the film pitch for this film, Groundhog Day meets Aliens with the first half hour of Saving Private Ryan. But really this film should be called A Million Ways to Kill Tom Cruise. Director Doug Liman has already said that this film should appeal to those who both love and hate Tom Cruise. If you love him, he’s in it, and if you don’t he dies, over and over and over again.
But Cruise is great in this film. At the beginning Cage is a cowardly, sleazy guy who goes on a journey that turns him into a brave man with a conscience. Even better is Blunt as Rita, whose been given the nickname of Full Metal Bitch by her fellow soldiers. Blunt clearly relishes playing such a bad-ass whose short temper and frustration also reveal a brave and intelligent person underneath. Rita’s training of Cage provides the film with plenty of darkly comic moments as she brutally trains Cage to make him a better fighter. Her character is the true hero of this film as she makes Cage who he is. Of the supporting cast Bill Paxton is hilarious as the drill Sargent who greets Cage at the start of every single day.
The battle scene on the beach is well-directed and feels thrilling in IMAX 3d. As we return to the same battle repeatedly it doesn’t get tiring or boring as the film approaches the battle in different ways. In fact that goes for most of this film. Despite its premise the film does not get repetitive as Cage’s day continues to start over. Screenwriters Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth deserve praise for making each do-over interesting and full of black comedy. The aliens-Mimics-are also a great creation, with their multiple legs and the quick scattering way they move, they certainly scared me a couple of times.
It’s just a shame that the film does not have the best of endings. It all seems like its leading to a more riskier climax but then the movie decides to play it safe. While it doesn’t undo all the good work that’s gone before, it just seems like a missed opportunity. However this proves to be an unexpected but welcoming addition to this year’s summer blockbusters.
But I still think All You Need Is Kill was a better title though.
Rating 4/5- a surprising and exciting sci-fi action movie