Tom Cruise has delved into the fickle waters of the sci-fi blockbuster time and time again.
He has starred in sci-fi films such as “Vanilla Sky,” “Minority Report,” “War of the Worlds” and, most recently, “Oblivion.” Some of his films have been hits and some haven’t, but that never has dissuaded him from another try.
This week’s review, however, is about probably his best science-fiction film. Yep, I said it. Now I’ll try to prove it.
“Edge of Tomorrow,” now in theaters, is based upon the Japanese novella “All You Need is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. This is important, because I feel much of the story’s strength comes from the fact that it was based upon a successful print story. This provides the backbone, if you will.
Cruise plays Maj. William Cage, a public-relations officer in the near future who refuses to go to the European front. That’s where Earth’s forces are preparing a D-Day-type invasion in order to deal a game-changing blow to alien forces trying — and largely succeeding — to take over our planet.
As punishment for his cowardice, Cage is stripped of his rank and knocked unconscious. In a nightmarish sequence, he wakes at the front, is stuck with a band of misfits, is wearing a robotic combat exoskeleton he has no training with and is sent to fight aliens.
Let me add that he spends the majority of the fight trying to figure out where the safety is, and that these aliens are deadly scary.
The aliens, known as mimics, have been effective at wiping out humans because they time-travel. When a mimic commander, known as an Alpha, is killed, his blood allows for the day to start over. Only he remembers anything; everyone else mindlessly begins again. This allows him to avoid the mistake that got him killed (or die again while trying, then repeat it until he gets it right).
By dumb luck, Cage kills an Alpha, but is sprayed by its blood. Now it is his death that causes the day to restart.
Herein lies the comedy, too. If Cage has a sucky day, he only needs to die to initiate the restart.
For sci-fi, the setup actually is easy to understand. Also, this is a character Cruise plays well.
And now, we come to the best part of the film — co-star Emily Blunt. She’s a hard-core soldier and the subject of the Army’s ads. They call her the “Angel of Verdun,” an icon who gives the whole world hope. She becomes Cage’s only ally and trains him, day after day after day, to hopefully defeat the aliens once and for all. She’s my hero.
And I’m a fan!