“They say we’re young and we don’t know. Won’t find out unit-ii-l we grow.” This line of Sonny and Cher immediately takes me back to Bill Murray waking up over and over again in the classic “Groundhog Day”. Similarly the words “On your feet, maggot!” gouge themselves into your brain in Tom Cruise’s latest blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow.
Based on the novel “All you need is kill”, which was the original shooting title of the film, Cruise plays a really interesting character – William Cage – who begins the film as a cowardly and conniving army media man before circumstances force him to progressively step up find the hero inside himself. The Europe of the not too distant future has been invaded by a bizarre alien life form – the Mimics: a hive like being that breeds like rabbits and quickly overruns the whole of mainland Europe. Clearly UKIP must have got into power by then and shut the Channel Tunnel, since the alien invaders have not yet conquered Britain which stands alone against the enemy.
The infantry of the allied forces fight in well-armed mechanised suits, and Cage – much against his will – is strapped into one of these devices and ‘parachuted’ into the front line on the Normandy beaches: It is rather ironic that I watched this film on the 70th anniversary of when our brave troops did the same thing.
Why an aerial invasion would choose to land on the open beaches rather than some nice leafy field more inland is a question perhaps best not dwelt on, but it wouldn’t make any difference anyway: unfortunately, the Mimics can manipulate time and they already know the allied forces are coming, resulting in a massacre. Cruise is killed and the film ends. Or rather no, actually it doesn’t. From the result of a nice plot twist (no spoilers), Cruise reawakens at the start of the same day and can escape the death that befell him, at least for a little while longer. And so it goes on living up for once to the movie’s catchy tag-line – “Live, Die, Repeat”. As this proceeds, Cage appears, to his fellow comrades, to have almost God-like powers of combat through stunning demonstrations of intuition. I was reminded again of what Bill Murray’s Phil Connors says in “Groundhog Day”: “Well maybe the *real* God uses tricks, you know? Maybe he’s not omnipotent. He’s just been around so long he knows everything.”
Cage teams up with legendary fighter Rita, also known as the Angel of Verdun, played by the wonderful Emily Blunt. Rita is the only person to believe in Cage’s powers, the reason being (already unnecessarily pre-spoiled via the trailer) that she used to have the same power but lost it. Together they must find a way to dual-handedly end the war.
This is a great, albeit not flawless, film. Directed by Doug Liman, of the Bourne films, the pace is non-stop and the story infused with enough thrills, action and humour to thoroughly entertain over its running time, which (and a common complaint from this critic) is pleasingly under 2 hours. Cruise is a star that drives Marmite-like love and hate reactions. And so this is a film that has something for everyone: for the lovers of the diminutive action figure, Cruise is in great form and revels in the chance to step up to what must have been a physically exhausting shoot. For haters of the guy, they get to see him die on stage – – repeatedly! Emily Blunt also shines in her role, and the fledgling, almost reluctant, romance that builds between the two characters is well played. All of the supporting cast, especially the assorted grizzled characters of Cage’s J-troop, add variety and depth to the story.
The special effects are first rate, with the evil Mimics appearing truly threatening as they emerge suddenly from hiding places under the ground: something perhaps to bear in mind and pre-brief on if you have younger children you want to take.
This is very nearly a five-Fad film, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. As with any time-travel related film, there are some plot holes that appear when you pick under the skin of the story. This is particularly true of Emily Blunt’s character. And the Hollywood ending of the film is rather unsatisfactory and not terribly logical in keeping with the excellence of the rest of the story. But overall this is a film worth you catching at the cinema. A thoroughly good night out.
Fad Rating: FFFFf.