Some folks immediately dismissed “Edge of Darkness” once they heard the name Tom Cruise and science-fiction joined together again. Not me. This was one of my most anticipated films of 2014. Unlike many I enjoyed Cruise’s last sci-fi project “Oblivion” although it was a movie with noticeable flaws. Now he’s back playing in a science fiction sandbox filled with a strong script, cool special effects, and a time loop angle that makes this film feel undeniably unique despite it dabbling in familiar territory.
“Edge of Darkness” is based on a Japanese graphic novel entitled “All You Need Is Kill”. At first glance it may come across as a typical, run-of-the-mill alien invasion picture. Times are bad on planet earth and the human race is close to extinction. Our last hope lies in a big beach invasion on the European coast akin to D-Day. But while many aspects of that will sound very familiar, the movie throws us a clever curveball which is not only fresh but very entertaining.
Cruise takes on a very different role than we are used to seeing him in. He plays Major William Cage. That may sound like a macho military tough guy name but actually he’s a public relations specialist who works to encourage people into service while avoiding it himself. There’s no heroic and attractive golden boy aura. He’s actually an unlikable and cowardly man who soon finds himself tossed onto the frontlines of the big invasion. The battle doesn’t go well and the untrained and combat-ineffective Cage is killed in action. But instantly after death he wakes up at a past point before the invasion took place. Over and over this takes place and Cage must adapt while repeatedly reliving the doomed invasion.
We are also introduced to a character named Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt). She’s a Special Forces Sergeant who has an almost legendary status following her inspirational fighting in an earlier battle against the aliens. She crosses paths with Cage on the battlefield but their connection may go beyond that. Vrataski is a really cool component and not only does she add a lot to the story, but she gives us a strong and capable female lead. I was immediately drawn to her toughness and resolve.
If you’ve read other reviews you’ve probably heard this film compared to the Harold Ramis comedy “Groundhog Day”. That’s an undeniable comparison. Someone else said it best – “Edge of Tomorrow” is an entertaining mix of “Groundhog Day” and “Starship Troopers”. The trippy time loop element works really well within the sci-fi environment and its definitely more than just a gimmick. Director Doug Liman uses it as a focal point and it could have easily went bad. Instead it’s a ton fun and not only does it make for a great plot device, but it also opens the door for some of the movies genuinely funny moments.
Tom Cruise does a nice job going against type and reminding us that he is still a quality actor when given good material. I quite liked him here and he showed that he is still an actor with noticeable range. Emily Blunt once again shows that she is an actress who can play almost any role that she takes on. She never flinches in response to the physical demands of her character and you never doubt her authenticity. We also get Bill Paxton having fun playing with Master Sergeant stereotypes and we get Brendan Gleeson who is always good regardless of what he is in.
So far 2014 has been the year of the really good blockbuster. That is rarely the case but we’ve had several this year that have really won me over. Add “Edge of Tomorrow” to that list. Now it would be very easy to nitpick this movie to death and to point to a few plot points that don’t exactly make sense. But I think the movie works extremely well as a complete package. There’s some good science fiction, strategic funny moments, exhilarating action, and a smart and sharp story that never grows dull. I was thoroughly entertained by “Edge of Tomorrow” and that was exactly what I was hoping for.
The box office weekend report shows there’s a lot of people who missed a great summer movie. Loved this. Fine review, Keith.
Thanks man! It definitely did a lot better overseas than it did in the States. That’s a shame. I thought it was a lot of fun. It did have a few little hiccups, but for me they were easy to overlook because of the sheer entertainment value. The lower box office numbers do frustrate me a bit, especially when I see other lesser movies that do so well.
Essentially, it’s a gimmick that’s been done before, but it’s still fun because of what the movie does with that gimmick. Good review Keith.
Thanks. As I wrote, I never felt it is used as a gimmick. Sure it’s a familiar twist but I thought they handled it extremely well and not just as a forced device. I think that’s a key reason I was so impressed.
If word of mouth can save a movie, this should be it. The reviews on line have been great and there is still an outside chance it can break $100 million domestically. Still a critical success and something everyone should try to see.
I do hope word gets around and people go and see this movie because it deserves an audience. It’s a bit frustrating considering how well certain other movies do in terms of box office numbers. Hopefully this one will pick up because its a lot of fun.
I was one of those who dismissed this movie early on, much like I did with ‘Oblivion’ a while back. I’ve always been a fan of Cruise’s acting and I commend the guy for giving non-superhero, somewhat “original” sci-fi action movies a fighting chance at the box office. I believe the guy is generally trying hard to entertain us and make good movies for his fans. However, the marketing for this film, much the same as for Oblivion and other films with similar premises, has been abysmal. All these good reviews from fans and professional critics has really shocked me, because judging by the trailers this movie looked generic as hell. Even the title sounds picked out of a hat.
My girlfriend and I were even watching ‘Godzilla’ (2014) in theatres recently and as soon as Edge of Tomorrow’s commercial ended, she turned to me and said, “People are running out of ideas.” I thought the same. But lo and behold the movie has an 89% on Rottentomatoes and everyone and their grandmother seems to love it. Guess I’ll have to check it out??????
I was mixed on the trailers. The first one I saw really intrigued me while the second didn’t do much. I definitely agree that it didn’t do much to set itself apart in its advertising.
Fantastic point about Tom Cruise. Many people have soured on him over the years but I still like him quite a bit. I still find him to be a quality movie star and I’m usually interested in any movie his name is attached to. He’s definitely not that automatic box office draw that he once was, but I still like him.
Oh, and definitely give this a shot. I think it may surprise you.
Great review. I loved it too, it didn’t take itself too seriously and the script was very funny
You’re exactly right. There were a few laugh out loud moments. It definitely didn’t take itself too seriously and the subtle injections of humor always came at just the right time.
And then there is Emily Blunt. Any film gets an automatic two star bonus just for her being in it.
Great review Keith! Seems there has been a lot of excitement over this. I must say the trailer just looked really meh, so I was prepared to just write it off. I won’t be rushing for this is theatres, but I will be keeping my eyes peeled for a DVD release!
It’s definitely worth giving a look. I can see where it would cause people to be skeptical. It really is a cool film though. Oh, and there is that whole…ahem…Emily Blunt factor. 😉
Oh that… ahem… factor? 😉 Well, I’ll keep my eyes open for it when it hits a DVD release 😀
Nice one Keith, glad you enjoyed it. I did too, and I don’t think I’ve read a bad review of it online (in fact the one bad review I’ve seen was in an English newspaper). You’re more generous here than I was about Cruise but I do think he’s a really good fit for sci-fi and I almost enjoyed this as much as Minority Report and War Of The Worlds. I’ve only seen two blockbusters so far this year, but they’ve both been pretty good and I hope that trend continues!
Thanks a lot. So many blockbusters tend to overdo everything and many are just annoying. This year has been surprising. I absolutely loved Captain America an was completely surprised and how much I liked Godzilla. X-Men is another big budget film that has gotten a ton of praise. It just seems like an extraordinary year for these types of films. It’s about time.
It’s about time indeed! I haven’t seen Captain America, or the X-Men film, but I will probably get round to them at some point.
I’m seeing the X-Men film Thursday. Way behind on seeing it. I did love Cap though.
I have to admit I’m one of the sceptics of this film – a Tom Cruise and sci-fi combination is usually something I immediately choose to ignore hahah but I’m seeing lots of positive reviews for this film so maybe I’ll check it out once it’s released on DVD or something. I’m not usually a blockbuster fanatic but I do agree with you on the point that this summer has had some pretty decent offerings.
It’s really has been a crazy year for high quality blockbusters, right? Captain America, Godzilla, and now this. Oh and there’s X-Men that many people are praising.
As for Tom Cruise, look at this way – you can always say you’re going to the movie to watch Emily Blunt instead! I know I think that would be a good reason! 🙂
I really enjoyed the new X-Men so I’d definitely include it!
That is true hahah I do think she’s a decent actress so maybe I will put my initial reaction aside and see it.
I love her for her diversity. She can play in anything. Oh, and then there is that whole “I think she’s absolutely gorgeous” thing. 😉
Great review. The trailers for this were uninspiring but it was the blogging community that won me over and I thought it was great!
Wasn’t it fun? I thought it was a blast – a smart blockbuster that had a great story and knew how to laugh at itself.
Guilty! I was one of those who dismissed this when I saw Cruise in it as he looked the same as he is in other action flicks! But glad he proved me wrong, he’s so enjoyable to watch here, esp in the first act. I agree he’s still got the movie star charisma, but Blunt is more than capable to be his equal here. I’ve always liked her, I think this is one of the best pairings in action movies I’ve seen in a while.
She so good isn’t she. She has such an incredible range and I love that she isn’t just a token female role here. Just like you said, she more than holds her own!
It’s been out here for a while, but have not had the chance to check it out yet. Have not read your review, but the score makes me want to see it even more.
Lots of fun. There’s a real interesting twist and it definitely has some good humor. Definitely take a look.
Great review for what was a very good movie. I don’t know why people are passing on this, but they shouldn’t. It’s fast, fun and an inspired summer flick.
And Blunt? Sooooooo good.
And 100% with you. I was really anxious for this movie but I think even I was surprised at how much I liked it. Yet another 2014 blockbuster that actually delivers. And as you say, people shouldn’t be passing on it.
4.5? I’m very happy to see this. High praise for a film I’m really looking forward to. Nice work my man! 🙂
Thanks buddy. Like I said this is a movie that could be nitpicked apart, but I have no interest in doing that. I had too much fun with what they were doing. It’s clever. It’s action-packed. And it’s just plain fun.
I was shocked at how much I liked this film. Just did my review but the more I think about the film the more I think I like it. Love a pleasant surprise at the cinema 😀
Great review Keith
Wasn’t it good? I’m with you, the more I think on it the more I liked it. I had high hopes for it but in the back if my mind I was a little cautious. Lovely surprise.
I actually want to read the novel. Although I may wait for the manga they are producing 😀
It was a big surprise wasn’t it? I had high expectations for it and it even surprised me.
Nice to see another fan of Edge. Though I couldn’t say it was one of my more anticipated this year, it’s conversely going to end up on my list of the Year’s Biggest Surprises, that’s for sure! I had so much fun with this.
Solid review Keith
Thanks man! I was really excited for it and it topped my Flaunt list for June through August. Sooo relieved to see that it delivered. I too had tons of fun with it. It was a real treat that deserves a bigger audience.
Just a lot of fun with this film. I too felt that it came off as really fresh, and aside from 22 Jump Street I laughed more in EoT than any other release this year. Only issues are the slight drag in the middle and sort of anti-climatic ending, But all in all great, and something more people should see in theaters.
I agree with you. I think this movie surprised a lot of people. I had really high expectations for it but I also had some concerns. I’m glad it really delivered for me and I love hearing from others who enjoyed it as well.
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