I went to see this latest Tom Cruise Sci-Fi/Action movie almost blind, not even knowing that it was based on the novel All You Need Is Kill by Japanese author Hiroshi Sakurazaka. I just knew that time travel, and a seemingly endless loop of death and rebirth in order to fulfill destiny was involved. That, and the players involved: Hollywood action superstar Tom Cruise, female co-star Emily Blunt — who in her short career has portrayed a mix of romantic and action roles, with greater success on the former ones — and director Doug Liman, known for directing The Bourne Identity and producing the rest of the Spy saga. Only knowing these factors had me pumped up to see Edge of Tomorrow, and in turn helped, as I was surprised with each turn the movie took over its 113 minutes of almost nonstop action. The premise of the movie is a classic of the genre: Earth is being invaded by an advanced Alien race — the Mimics, so named for their ability to counter and adapt to every attack of Earth’s Army — and so far every attempt to stop them has failed. There’s only been one victory, in Verdun, thanks to a skilled soldier nicknamed The Full Metal Bitch (played by Emily Blunt). However, this effort was not enough, and Allied Forces have rallied in London to prepare a strike in France, to try and stop the Aliens from conquering Europe. Up until here there’s no reason why the movie should be any different from any other sci-fi summer action film, but it breaks from expectation with two weapons that set it apart from most of the movies in this genre. The first is a superb Tom Cruise, whose portrayal as Officer Cage – a man that gets thrown to the front lines and has to find the wits and the courage to fight the invasion – is the backbone of the movie. His scenes with Sergeant Farell (Bill Paxton) and his squadron provide with some of the funniest moments of the entire film, and help to keep the whole experience more human — more down to Earth, if you will. Because that is the second surprise of this movie, that throughout the drama, the tension, the big scary Aliens, what permeates it all is humor. There’s plenty of it, and that’s definitely a great choice because it helps the viewer to empathize with Cage’s ordeal, and his genuine fear from having to fight the threat face to face, instead of just being PR for Washington. You will laugh at all his attempts to literally run away from the war that, in a way, seems destined to become his fate. You will laugh during his training with the sword-wielding Full Metal Bitch, and how the man suffers because, clearly, he is not the fighting kind of guy. You will laugh at the consequences most of his attempts to explain how he is reliving the same day over and over and getting better in the process, by virtue of acquiring knowledge and experience, have. And this approach is much better than throwing at the viewer a fantasy setting with a man trapped in a time travel loop because his blood has been mixed with that of an Alpha Mimic. It helps to keep it accessible and simple for the audience, and in turn helps giving the more dramatic parts of the whole shebang the attention and tension they deserve. Despite the obvious, that this is an action movie which aims to entertain, and succeeds at that, it should be noted that there’s a conscious effort on telling a story about an individual faced against a seemingly impossible situation. The movie showcases Cruise over CGI, and it’s easy to see that wide, spectacular shots of Aliens, bombs or destruction are lacking, relying instead on close shots of the actors. I enjoyed that, in a 2014 science fiction war movie where it would have been easier to exploit and rely on CGI over having the actors carry the weight of the movie, Liman chose to do the latter. However, this plan has a big flaw. Named Emily Blunt. Hers is a character supposed to instill fear, and to help find the way to defeat the Alien invasion. In the novel I’m told she carries most of the weight, and it makes sense, as she’s the skilled fighter who has experienced the death-live again loop that Officer Cage goes through during the movie, and therefore she has to be the one to guide the Allies to victory. It’s a pity, then, that Blunt’s performance, maybe in an attempt to look cold and emotionless, comes off as subpar, having her presence on screen feel flat and her scenes “stolen” by Cruise’s amazing performance. She doesn’t even open herself to Cage, always looking cold and aloof, and driving away all possible hints at a more personal, intense connection between the two characters, even though, by force of repeating the same day hundreds of times, they get to know each other in a more intimate way. That does not mean that they don’t make a good couple on screen, or that she doesn’t convey the drama or the fun. But not nearly as well as I’d expected. I have seen Blunt in other movies, and I believe she can be a good romance actress, but has a lot to learn regarding facial expressions, drama, humor, and how to mix it all into a great performance. It is a tricky balance to achieve, I’ll give her that. Other than that, my main concern before seeing the movie was how the death-rebirth loop would be handled, and it was dissipated, as this is done in an expert way, knowing when to change a few facts or jump in time just the necessary amount to not bore the viewer with a retelling of the past five minutes. Each time Cage lives that same day counts, and that need to make the day count is what drives the movie forward. Overall, Edge of Tomorrow is an entertaining movie, with lots of action, a great dose of fun, and sacrifice. It may not be a summer blockbuster, but has some very good performances and a script that surprises and offers a good time. Advance Review: Edge of Tomorrow (2014)3.5Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related One Response Top Ten Favorite 2014 Sci-Fi Movies - Psycho Drive-In January 23, 2015 […] thought I had seen Edge of Tomorrow before, but I was wrong. 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