It is sad to say but we are on the verge of seeing Tom Cruise’s bankable movie star status being revoked. Almost all of his latest films have been box office duds in the US and even his latest, Edge of Tomorrow, might not be strong enough in the international markets for Warner Bros. to make a profit on the film. That is quite a shame as Tom Cruise is not only a great actor but he has been mixing it up as of late with his roles despite being pegged as an action film only actor. While Edge of Tomorrow is marketed as another action star role for Cruise this is a fresh angle on the role and it is this plus a fun gimmick and some great chemistry between Cruise and Emily Blunt that makes Edge of Tomorrow one of the better films of the year so far.
Edge of Tomorrow follows Major Cage (Tom Cruise), a media liaison for the army, who is tossed into the middle of humanity’s final military action against an invading and quick learning species of aliens when he gets on the wrong side of the general in charge of the invasion. The invasion goes badly quickly and Cage is mortally wounded from the deadly blood of one of the alpha aliens. Yet Cage wakes up where he began the day. As he is forced to repeat the day over and over again he comes into contact with Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a war hero who has knowledge of Cage’s predicament and believes he is the one who can save humanity. The film is directed by Doug Liman (the underrated director behind such films as The Bourne Identity and Fair Game) and is written by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects and a frequent Tom Cruise collaborator), Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth.
This film certainly doesn’t reinvent the wheel but the way that Doug Liman employs the elements that he has at his disposal certainly makes it feel fresh. Liman has a lot of confidence in his audience as he uses the time travel elements of the film without much explanation and by leaving only minor hints towards the back stories of certain characters makes the experience much richer. It was also great to see him cast his two leads against type as Tom Cruise plays a coward and Emily Blunt an action hero. The two actors work perfectly together and their chemistry just adds to the fun that this film is.
As it is with most time travel films, this one ends up running into problems heading towards the finish line. The film goes with the “blockbuster” ending but at least the final scene has an independent film-like feel to it. Plus this ending works much better than the darker ending they could have gone for. To truly land the ending on this film, the entire third act would have to have been reconfigured.
Despite the ending, this film is still a lot of fun and is definitely a good film in a summer that has seen most films be brought down by a fatal flaw towards mediocrity.