Drafted into combat, William Cage, a self-centered coward, finds himself in a desperate battle against grotesque aliens who have overrun Europe. Although the humans are wearing armored jackets with built-in weapons, they get slaughtered. He spots Sergeant Vrataski, a woman who has killed over a hundred aliens, but they both get killed.
Cage (Tom Cruise) wakes up on the eve of the invasion and is forced to go into the same battle. This time he momentarily saves Vrataski (Emily Blunt), who tells him to find her when he wakes up. They both die again.
On the eve of battle again, she tells him the same thing happened to her—the aliens can see the future, and he has accidentally tapped their ability so that he relives the battle each time he’s killed. She went through it herself three hundred times. Now she will train him to help win the war.
As Cage relives the battle over and over again, he becomes a super soldier himself. But can these two individuals turn the tide?
photo by MTV Live
Edge of Tomorrow has done it. They actually show an army of live actors marching off to war in what in Japan would be called mecha suits. The close ups show the intricate details of the armored jackets: servos that give extra power to the limbs, straps to keep them attached to the bodies, clips for fast reloading, and multi-language displays.
Also, the military details are bell-ringing: When Cage frantically asks regarding his weapons, “Where’s the safety?” the cynical reply is, “Exactly.” When Cage blabs too much about how they’ll all get killed, Sergeant Major Farell (Bill Paxton) has his mouth duct-taped. And Paxton is a delight as the Kentuckian who gives his harangue on combat as “the great equalizer.”
Comparisons have been made to the movie Groundhog Day, but Edge of Tomorrow is really more like gaming, with the player getting killed while trying to achieve more difficult levels. For instance, Cage directs Vrataski to advance thirty yards beyond a trench, then face to the right and fire, even though she won’t see the alien yet. And in a pivotal scene, she asks him, “What do we do now?” He replies, “I don’t know. We’ve never gotten this far.”
photo by gdcgraphics
But this movie is not just for gamer guys who have emerged from their man caves. Women will also enjoy watching Emily Blunt, she of the steel triceps, as she never lets up on being a soldier. She is able to whack aliens to death with what looks like a club/sorority paddle. And Tom Cruise still delivers when it comes to action movies.
It’s not all dreary battle—some of the first times that Cage wakes up again are quite funny. But the title made me think it was a soap opera when I first saw it. The phrase developed for the marketing campaign, “Live Die Repeat,” would have been much better.