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Live. Die. Repeat.
Tom Cruise has had what can be fairly described as an adrenaline soaked career in the movies that has spanned multiple decades. Whilst I have found that he can branch out in to more interesting projects from time to time Cruise has pretty much had a foothold as the top A-lister for big action movies for about twenty years now, give or take a couple of 'jumping on the couch like crazy during an Oprah interview' moments. Quite frankly I am staggered that this 52 year old man is still able to meet the demands of big action films like this.
Cruise stars as Army Major William Cage, more used to media relations than army combat. Cage is put on the front lines of battle with an alien force threatening to destroy humanity. Cage is a cowardly character introduced to the typical crack team of army soldiers, presented to them as a deserter who will do anything to get out of combat, all of which doesn't prevent him from hitting the front lines on the beaches, D-Day style. On the beach though, an ill prepared Cruise, who cannot turn the safety off on his Mech suite comes into contact with Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski aka 'Full Metal Bitch' (Emily Blunt), the face of the armed forces assault on the enemy. Cage watches Vrataski die on the battlefield before a confrontation with an 'Alpha' see's him killed too. The thing is Cage wakes up back at the army base and begins to relive the day again.
So straight away it is clear that we can compare the film in concept to Groundhog Day and Source Code, sure many people have done that already and that is fine. You could be forgiven for thinking that this idea isn't entirely original but Edge of Tomorrow works because it works out the mechanics of the concept and runs with it. The film has fun with having Cruise die over and over again, I certainly did! His interacts with Blunt are vital to the film as well, we learn through her that she has suffered the same situation as Cruise, reliving the same day over and over, which gives us an understanding of how see became so revered and battle hardened! The fact that both characters have had experience with reliving the same day over and over gives them some character as both characters deal with the the consequence of repeating the same day, particularly in Cruise developing feelings for Blunt that he wouldn't otherwise, something that creates a dilemma deep into the film. On all fairness these moments are hardly earth shattering but they add just that little extra to the carnage.
One of the problems I had early on was the fact that our history of Cruise as an actor is one of a man who is very capable as an action hero, which his character is not. It is hard to believe he is so cowardly, even though we all know he will be that action hero by the end. Cruise does do a decent job of playing the coward though, maybe even overselling that quality a little in all honesty. The film obviously has a lot of opportunities to show the way in which Cruise develops over the course of the film with this repetitive structure and it does that stuff well. The opening section pre Cruise death has numerous elements that I wasn't quite in tune with, mainly the phoned in performance by Brendan Gleeson, a couple of moments where Cruise is seen ether running of trying to flee where I just felt seemed hard to believe. Also when we are introduced to the Bill Paxton and his crew I couldn't help but remind myself of the army marines in Aliens of which Paxton was a part of. These marines of Edge of Tomorrow are seriously lacking in personality in my opinion.
Thankfully when Cage is finally killed for the first time the film really does take off, offering some inventive scenarios in the repeating the same day motif. There is certainly a healthy amount of humour and the film is ruined by exposition - although it does obviously contain a fair bit. The design of the Mech Suites are really decent but are a bit indebted to James Cameron's Aliens and Avatar to a certain degree. Also I should say Emily Blunt is particularly great in this, fully living up to the 'Full Metal Bitch' tag to begin with, she is a total bad ass in her Mech Suite and has a Cloud Strife like sword which is pretty ace too! Of course there is a character lurking underneath the bad ass bitch, Blunt shows us the right amount of vulnerability as well as strength.
The title of the film is probably one of the more contentious parts of the whole film! Edge of Tomorrow is based on All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and was originally named after this, which is fine. Then it was retitled to Edge of Tomorrow which is generic and I actually don't know what relevance it has to the film I watched - well ok, I can but it is still shit. Now though, the films title has seemingly morphed with it's tagline, "Live. Die. Repeat". Has it been retitled to that or is in now called Live. Die. Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow? It's an unnecessary change up in marketing that has more potential to harm the films lasting appeal than helping it.
So despite having some issues with the film and it's marketing I firmly believe Edge of Live. Die. Repeat, or whatever it's called is a fine Summer blockbuster film. It may have a little too much in the way of CGI which at times makes it look a little messy but there is a lot of fun to have with this films concept. I have no idea how much longer Cruise can headline a film as adrenaline soaked as this one but for now lets rejoice in the fact that he still can because his dedication is entirely worthy of my admiration and his efforts often show up on screen. Edge of Tomorrow is another highlight for him.