Directed by Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Bourne Identity), Edge of Tomorrow is an adaption of the light novel All You Need is Kill by Japanese author Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Although this film uses a Groundhog Day time loop as the basis of its plot, the film uses the element in a way that’s never been done before (as far as I know). What could have been just another run-of-the-mill sci-fi action movie (Cruise’s last film Oblivion springs to mind…) is actually a surprisingly entertaining film. In fact, in this age of constant sequels, prequels, reimaginings and unnecessary two-part films, this feels refreshing and new. It manages to take an old premise and change it enough to be something different.
The plot is further buoyed by Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, both of whom I was surprised to watch perform so well. Cruise’s character starts off as a cowardly rookie (to the point that he doesn’t know how to turn his gun’s safety off), but after repeating the same battle over and over again he slowly grows into a highly competent soldier. Blunt’s character, on the other hand, is an extreme bad-ass from the get-go (she is colloquially known as “The Fullmetal Bitch”), and she plays the warrior very well. It was nice to see both Blunt in such a different role than her usual fare and Cruise act really well, proving he can actually be entertaining when he’s in a good movie.
I think the buzz word for this movie is surprise. I was surprised that this was more than just another clichéd Hollywood sci-fi action moneymaker. I was surprised that Tom Cruise acted as well as he did and that Blunt played such a good warrior. And I was surprised that a movie could take a unique concept that has clearly been done before (in this case, the time loop) and use it to tell a new, fresh story. While this is not a groundbreaking or revolutionary film that will be talked about for years to come, it does have much more quality and much more originality than I would expect out of a Hollywood blockbuster. Since the purpose of a Hollywood blockbuster is to entertain us, I would say that Edge of Tomorrow does its job surprisingly well.