It’s summer. Tom Cruise has a new movie. You might be thinking nothing has changed as Tom Cruise always has a summer blockbuster, with exception of last year’s disappointing Oblivion, every other year or so. What if I told you that Cruise actually plays a character as opposed to just a leading man? What if I told you that Edge of Tomorrow is actually pretty good. So good in fact that I think it has many layers to the film that could put it on par with modern staples of the sci-fi genre if not supercede them?
Cruise plays Lt. Col. Bill Cage who starts the film as a cowardly man who has worked himself up the ranks behind-the-scenes to his position now and tries his damnedest to avoid going to war. He himself says he has no problem marketing the war but is only good at doing just that. After some resistance, he is put on a ship to go out with the first wave of troops to fight an super-intelligent species known as Mimics. On the battlefield, he kills a alpha Mimic and has the acidic blood pour all over his face which then infuses into his blood stream and – whammo – he is put back at the start of his day when he wakes up on the ship. He lives the same day over and over again. As he progresses, he learns all the specific details and moves that people and Mimics make. Just like a video game, he gets better at every pass but then meets up with Rita, otherwise known as the Full Metal Bitch, who has had this exact thing happen to her before in combat. To tell you any more of the film would be a disservice to you as a viewer as the less you know, the better.
Director Doug Liman (Go, Swingers, The Bourne Identity) has crafted a film that on the surface is a fine-tuned science fiction/action extravaganza. More importantly, it is one heck of a good time. Whether you are a fan or not of Cruise, this is a role that will please both sides. If you like his work, he plays a character that isn’t as confident and is a bit of a mess. If you hate the guy, he gets on your good side because within the first 10 minutes, his cowardly ways will influence all viewers to be on your level and then as he goes through the film, you begin to like him through his redemption. His role is really a win-win and it is perfect for Cruise.
Below the surface of telling a good story and keeping the film on pace, there is commentary on video game culture and what makes a hero a hero. The story has enough humor, action and brains behind it to make this film a worthy entry into sci-fi but not lose the mainstream in its overall intelligence. Edge of Tomorrow is smart, inventive but most of all one of the better sci-fi/action films in a while and may become a classic if people give it a chance.