On paper Edge of Tomorrow ticks a lot of boxes with current film fashion, not least the choice of leads. Emily Blunt’s star is certainly in ascend these days from the cool and bitchy office rival to Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada and more recently with other well receives science fiction movies such as The Adjustment Bureau and Looper. Her opposite number Tom Cruise has never gone out of fashion since he won the hearts of women everywhere as he boogied around the house in Risky Business. Add to that Doug Liman, the man who brought us The Bourne films as director and a big Hollywood budget and already the film has a lot of selling points.
And although Science Fiction seems to be back in vogue (Interstellar, The Martian, Ex Machina, Jupiter Ascending) it is still a genre that often gets bogged down in cliché or lacks a certain internal logic. Even the most alien of settings and fantastic scenarios have to have some sort of reasoning as to why they are the way they are. Without throwing too many spoilers out there (although the tag line of Live, Die, Repeat is going to give you a sense of what is going to happen) the basic premise is this.
In the not too distant future the world is at war. An alien race has over run Europe and again the coast of France are the front line for a showdown between what remains of the globes armies and the invaders. Bill Cage finds himself out of his depth in the midst of this final reckoning, but a turn of events means that he finds himself able involuntarily reset time. Each death in battle brings him back to the mustering point before his final wave went in and puts him into a Bill Murray style Groundhog Day repeat pattern where he is aware of what lies in store for him. Over time he uses each life to predict and avoid the dangers and so become more successful and survive long.
But he is not alone, one person becomes aware of what is happening to him, Emily Blunt’s hard as nails war hero, and becomes his ally and together they must find a way to strike the invader at their most vulnerable point.
One of the clever points of the film is that we experience the events unfolding at the same time as Cage does, but like him we learn what is going on through a series of failed attempts to stay alive and the inevitable time-loop reset. If you stop and ponder on the whys and wherefores of why this is happening, the credibility gets a bit shaky, but essentially the film is a great action film, with good pace and a spiralling hook that keeps you engaged.
The two leads bring what is needed to the role, cruise the usual affability and charm and blunt a steely beauty as a doe eyed killing machine. Don’t look for depth, the internal logic doesn’t stand up under the microscope for too long and it doesn’t raise any big questions in the way that films such as Blade Runner or Interstellar did. But as a slick, exciting, explosive film with great battle scenes and enough of a story to carry you beyond the action it works. You may not watch it more than once, but it is certainly worth a spin.