It’s déjà vu all over again, at least for Tom Cruise, in the exciting new Sci fi, action blockbuster, “Edge of Tomorrow”. Part “Groundhog Day”, part “Saving Private Ryan”, “Tomorrow” takes place in a near future in which an alien race has hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, unbeatable by any military unit in the world. Cruise plays William Cage, an army Major/PR Flack, who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously dropped into what amounts to a suicide mission. Killed within minutes, Cage finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop, forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again…and again. Like a video game, with every death the character “resets”, starting over from the same spot. But with each new battle, Cage becomes able to engage the adversaries with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt). And, as Cage and Rita take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy.
Based on a Japanese novel written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, the movie’s setting looks remarkably like the beach at Normandy, where the earthling infantry must endlessly repeat the brutal landing to face an onslaught of aliens who bear a resemblance to giant, metallic spiders. By the way, should you doubt the filmmaker’s intention, you might note that the movie is being released on June 6th, the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
Cruise is well-cast as the overly sincere advertising exec – turned PR soldier – who becomes a reluctant hero. Emily Blunt offers a great casting-against-type, kick-ass performance as Vrataski, a war hero whose nickname (depending on who says it) is either ‘The Hero of Verdun’ or ‘Full Metal Bitch’. Director Doug Limon, wisely keeps any hint of sexual tension out of the picture, and the duos on-screen partnership is a blast to watch. Bill Paxton, as Cage’s CO is a delight as well, taking a big bite out the scenery every time he’s on screen.
The Bottom Line: “Edge of Tomorrow” is a solid departure from this summer’s glut of superhero sequels, and hits the blockbuster trifecta: terrific edge-of-your-seat action, special effects and originality. Don’t wait to rent it, the film looks best in 3D, on the biggest screen you can find, in IMAX if possible. The over-the-top violence is reminiscent of a video game, so it’s best to exclude any kids who aren’t old enough to play games of this sort at home.
PG-13 for intense scenes of sci-fi action and violence, language and suggestive material. 1 hr. 53 min.