Die Again and Again and Again…
A Film Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
When news broke out about another Tom Crusie action movie, the groans were palpable and with good reason. Tom Crusie doesn’t exactly scream “excitement” anymore, especially after recent disasters like Oblivion and Jack Reacher. Overall there was a sense of fatigue from Cruise action flicks (although Mission Impossible IV: Ghost Protocol was pretty awesome) and perhaps it was that fatigue that sunk the box office chances of this movie from reaching its full potential. Or perhaps it has to do with the relatively lame title, which isn’t helped by the rebranding of this film as Live. Die. Repeat. Since the film is based on the awesome All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, why didn’t they retain the title? It certainly sounds better. Anyhow, the film is about an alien race known as Mimics invading the Earth and caught up in that swarm is Major William Cage, who has never seen actual combat in his life. He keeps on dying again and again again, reliving those same moments time and time again. Utterly bemused, he finds help in the Full Metal Bitch herself, Sergeant Rita Vrataski so the Mimics can finally be defeated.
The film’s plot is basic and to rejuvenate it, the script takes incredibly fun twists and turns so the constant reliving of the same moments doesn’t at any moment become monotonous. The first reliving is a bit confusing if you walk into the film without knowing what it’s about but from then on it’s a refreshing blend of comedy, terror, and the ticking time bomb that never allows the plot to become stale and stagnant. Little bits and pieces consistently are thrown out like a good mystery so the audience investment remains alive. The action set pieces are simply badass and stunning to behold. Outside of the incredibly impressive visual effects at work, the design of the Mimics alone gets top notch marks, their sudden twists and turns making for some terrifying spots. The beach landing sequences are evocative of D-Day and brilliantly shot, the sheer chaos of such an endeavor seemingly created effortlessly. There is astounding brutality throughout these sequences, surprisingly effective considering the PG-13 rating that has been known to strangle films on a relatively frequent basis.
Perhaps the neatest trick this film pulls off is the great reversal of gender roles here. In traditional summer action blockbuster films, it is the man who is usually the awesome superhero everyone looks up to while the lead female character is more often than relegated to being his girlfriend. Here, that’s definitely not the case. Emily Blunt is the shining star of the film, her badass Sergeant Rita Vrataski taking no prisoners and shooting Cruise point blank in the face whenever he makes a mistake. It’s a stupendous performance from Blunt, made all the more impressive by the reality that she hasn’t really done action roles before this. Cruise as Major Cage is a great role reversal, his cowardice and ineptitude perhaps a signal of meta humor from the makers of the film considering his filmography. The supporting cast rounds out everything nicely, even though they’re not given nearly as much to do.
Let’s talk about the ending, which mars what otherwise would have been a perfect film, complete with a thematic unity of fighting for what’s truly right and the value of friendship. I don’t know why there’s an issue of people dying on film. At a certain point, we have to stop with the deus ex machina of people magically coming back from life. It’s irritating, it does little to advance cinematic progress and it strangles storytelling. Game of Thrones killed off Ned Stark and well, most of the Starks, The Good Wife killed off Will Gardner, and Homeland knocked out half its leading pair with Brody (which should have arguably occurred a lot quicker). Each show has been on an ascendance since, killing the idea that death must always be a negative strangulation of the story. Perhaps there’s an explanation with the power of the Omega, but nevertheless it is supremely irritating to see film after film after film that lacks guts to kill characters off. That being said, Edge of Tomorrow, Live. Die. Repeat, All You Need is Kill is pretty darn spectacular and one of the best action films in recent memory. Go give it a shot (pun intended).
Title: Edge of Tomorrow
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Directed by: Doug Liman
Produced by: Erwin Stoff, Tom Lassally, Jeffrey Silver, Gregory Jacobs, Jason Hoffs
Screenplay by: Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth
Based On: All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson
Music: Christophe Beck
Cinematography: Dion Beebe
Editing: James Herbert, Laura Jennings
Production Company: Village Roadshow, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment, Viz Productions
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Running Time: 113 minutes
Release Dates: May 28, 2014 (London IMAX), June 6, 2014 (United States)
Image Courtesy: Forbes