First, we had Groundhog Day, a sweet, fantasy comedy that was the perfect link between the screwball hilarious Bull Murray of the 80s, and the more serious, prestige Bill Murray of the last couple of decades. Then the whole “live the same day over and over, and learn in an important lesson about yourself” trope was given the sci-fi treatment a few years ago with the not often enough talked about Source Code. Now, it’s given a mega budget, mega movie star overhaul, with Edge of Tomorrow.
It’s sometime in the future and the planet Earth is at war with some aliens. Tom Cruise is Cage, a slick military spin doctor whose job it is to convince the human race that they’re winning this war. But here’s the thing, the humans aren’t winning, they’re having their asses kicked. Brendan Gleeson’s General Brigham is planning a massive and risky offensive, and decides that the best way to get the public on board is to get Cage on the front lines as well. Basically kidnapped, Cage hits the beach on D Day and dies almost immediately.
Yep, the hero, played by Tom Cruise, is dead within the first 20 minutes. Until he wakes up, once again on the training base, the day before the doomed invasion. He dies again, wakes up again, dies again, wakes up again. Once he realises he’s not going insane, Cage uses this loop to live a little bit longer, do a little bit better each time he lands on the beach. Eventually, he teams up with Emily Blunt’s Rita, a legendary and admired war hero who might know what and how this is all happening. Together, they might just be able to use this time repeating regeneration to make the ill fated invasion a little less ill fated. Also, Noah Taylor is there. Always a good thing.
Doug Liman hit big as a director back in 1996, when Vince Vaughn tricked us all into thinking that it was charming for 20 some things to act like rat packers, and that he was a viable leading man, with Swingers. Sure, since then, Liman may have proven his action movie credentials with a The Bourne Identity and Mr and Mrs Smith, but even they look small and simple compared to Edge of Tomorrow. It also shows that he hasn’t lost his knack for humour that was so prevalent in Swingers. Because this has more solid laughs than I ever expected.
I don’t go in for too many big action blockbusters. But I have to say, the tagline on the posters for this movie, “Live. Die. Repeat”, got me more than a little intrigued. And Edge of Tomorrow made that intrigue more than justified. Tom Cruise is a different generation of mega star that doesn’t really exist anymore. I think he’s a victim of a time when there were more mega stars like him and we all just got a little burned out. But now that he’s pretty much the only one, I can see myself on board for a movie like this, or Jack Reacher, every couple of years.