In the not-too-far future, an alien race has come to Earth to destroy humanity. The alien infestation has spread across Europe, obliterating all the poor humans in its path, and next threatens to jump the Channel to England. In a last act of desperation, international forces have decided to launch and end-all, be-all assault on the beaches of France (I do not think it was a coincidence that this film opened on the 70th anniversary of D-Day). If the humans lose, they’ve probably lost Earth forever.
Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is basically a cheeseball marketing face for the U.S. military. Never a soldier, he fully admits he’s only there because of his advertising background. The military needs a face for the media to keep the public from thinking that all is not lost. But after a tiff with the commanding general (Brendan Gleeson), wimpy Cage wakes up to find himself forced into the front line of what is basically humans-vs-aliens D-Day invasion on the beaches of France. The beach battle is a slaughter. In a last ditch effort, Cage blows himself up, taking down a nasty alien with him. Then Cage wakes up, and it is 24-hours earlier. Can you say Groundhog Day?
It doesn’t take Cage long to realize that he is repeating the same day over and over. He teams up with one of the few heroes of the war so far, warrior soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), who seemingly singlehandedly won the only human victory so far. Why? Turns out she had also been on the live, die, repeat cycle. It’s up to the two of them to figure out how to learn, adapt, and change tactics so maybe, just maybe they can figure out how to kill the aliens and the cycle will end.
I didn’t expect to the film to be clever. I didn’t expect the film to be funny. And, considering that the movie is basically a glorified video game (a genre I HATE), I sure as heck didn’t expect to like it. But Cruise, in his more self-effacing, toned-down mode, is an appealing lead, reminding us that unlike many of his younger counterparts, he can totally carry a movie. Blunt, in her buff, oiled-up badass mode, is an equal foil, has the honor of “ending” each of Cage’s lives a little early if she so chooses. (Admittedly half the fun is seeing how Cruise bites it at the end of each scene.)
I have to admit that as the credits rolled for Edge of Tomorrow, I turned to my friend and said, “It’s too bad no one is going to see this movie. The trailer sucked, and there’s the Tom Cruise Factor.” But count me surprised, I really liked this film!
Curiously rebranded on Blu-ray with cover artwork that says, “LIVE. DIE. REPEAT.” in huge letters (and “Edge of Tomorrow” as an afterthought), this film is getting a bit of a marketing makeover to try to grab some attention after doing so-so at the box office. It really does deserve to be seen by a wider audience. Among the series of featurettes included, “Storming the Beach” goes into the making of the quite impressive beach invasion scene (the battle, modelled after World War II’s landing at Normandy, was actually created on a back lot with a HUGE pile of sand); “Weapons of the Future” goes into detail about the body armor-slash-weapon that the characters wear, including the fact that, in real life, Cruise and Blunt were trotting around wearing an 85+ pound prop; “Creatures Not of this World” is about the design of the alien beasties; and the extensive 40ish-minute “On the Edge With Doug Liman” shows behind the scenes of the film as it was made, focusing on Liman’s directing style. Finally, to round everything off, there are a few deleted scenes.