Thursday, November 27, 2014

Movie with Abe: Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow
Directed by Doug Liman
Released June 6, 2014

I often watch trailers for action movies and tell myself how exciting they look, though I know that I likely won’t end up seeing them, and certainly not before my initial enthusiasm fades while they are still playing in theatres. Such is the case with “Edge of Tomorrow,” which, thanks to a strong musical choice paired with compelling clips from the film, looked like an enthralling sci-fi film with Tom Cruise’s armored soldier fighting aliens over and over as his death mysteriously meant restarting the day each time with renewed knowledge and hope of how to defeat the enemy. It’s an ambitious premise, to be sure, and, disappointingly but unsurprisingly, this film can’t hope to make it work.

Cruise stars as Cage, a spokesperson for a multinational human army against invading aliens. When he is summoned one day to a general’s office, he learns that he is being sent to the front lines and responds incredulously, emphasizing that he is meant for public service and a non-physical part of the fight. He is promptly arrested and wakes up to find himself preparing for the first day of battle, with his pleas for others to believe his circumstances falling on deaf ears. Soon after landing on the battlefield, Cage dies and awakens again at the start of the day. Gradually, Cage realizes that his pre-death encounter with soldier Rita (Emily Blunt) is crucial to his and the human race’s survival, and begins reliving his day countless times so that he can get it right and figure out how to truly win the war.

This film adheres to the notion that a relived day will play out exactly the same way no matter what, with no variance in what others say and what happens unless something different is done to change those events. What that means is Cage gets to be a ranting know-it-all, predicting what those around him will say or do before it happens and seeming like a bratty braggart who many perceive as crazy. Cruise is all too right for that part, which makes him far less appealing than when he served as a strong lead for similar films like “Mission: Impossible” and “Minority Report.” Blunt is good as usual but should be considered for deeper roles rather than one-note characters like this. This film’s logic isn’t entirely sound, so seeing the day over and over doesn’t pay off, but that’s not its main issue. The problem is that finding a way to defeat the enemy isn’t an enticing process, and the resolution is watery and unexciting, if not far too simplistic. Most of all, the action is lackluster and barely even there, and for a film featuring soldiers in giant suits shooting at aliens, that’s a true failure.


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