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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Edge of Tomorrow (3D) | Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Gleeson, Tom Paxton | Review

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Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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Edge of Tomorrow   (3D) | Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Gleeson, Tom Paxton | Review

How many times can a guy suddenly wake up, confused, on a pile of duffel bags?  Quite a few, it turns out.  How many times can this occur before boredom sets in?  Never – and that is the gift that Edge of Tomorrow gives the viewer:  Repetition without tedium.

In fact, the action (and tension) constantly evolves ever so slightly to improve, change, surprise and satisfy.  Snark helps, and with a leading man (Tom Cruise) already known for his comfort with cockiness, the potent recipe for fast-paced adventure works to create a terrain that unfolds a little at a time, with spectacle.

In the not-too-distant future, alien invaders known as Mimics (resembling semi-translucent, tentacled balls of black licorice, internally illuminated by either red or blue glow) have infested Europe.  Well, the world really; Europe is just where all of the action is and affords the film great London and Parisian scenery, like a toppled Eiffel Tower or a destroyed Louvre.  Helicopters can land in Trafalgar Square and buzz the tower of Big Ben.  Combined human armies, called the United Defense Forces (UDF) ensure that every unit will have at least some British accents, always a plus in battle.

The roaring, scrambling, swift-moving Mimics destroy everything in their path, until Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) dubbed the Angel of Verdun, exhibits amazing and inexplicable offensive power against the invaders.  

UDF public-relations officer Major William Cage (Cruise) is embedded with a combat unit against his will by military bigwig General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson).  When he tries to run, literally, from the assignment (he’s never seen battle; he’s a PR guy, after all) the cycle of waking up on duffel bags at Heathrow Airport begins.  

After a tongue-lashing sermon by Staff Sgt. Farrell (a nearly unrecognizable Bill Paxton) Cage is killed in battle the next day by a Mimic, and begins to relive the same day over and over, meeting Vrataski, undergoing advanced training for Mimic battle, learning from his mistakes, and trying desperately not to get wounded, a state which can be more fatal than death in his case.  

Oh, and he also learns from Vrataski why he is allowed all those do-overs.  She gets to shoot him in the head – a lot – and he gets to wake up on those duffel bags again and again, each time a little wiser than the last.

Vrataski and Cage must get Brigham to believe them, advancing the storyline by increments until they can become truly effective in the fight against the Mimics.  Cage has certainly had enough rehearsal, but still faces uncharted territory the further he gets.

Likewise, director Doug Liman (The Bourne Ultimatum) has certainly had enough rehearsal with action flicks to wisely steer clear of any do-over missteps, moving the film forward while his protagonist retreats to the starting gate time and time again as if engaged in a violent, international game of Sorry.

Based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel All You Need Is Kill, and with a screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie (Valkyrie, Jack Reacher) and Jez and John-Henry Butterworth (Fair Game) Edge of Tomorrow cleverly incorporates predictablility into the plot like a wild sprint through a minefield.  While an explosion is certain, you never know which step (or how many) it will take until detonation.  The result is a thrill-ride of cinematic anticipation.

The 3D effect is worthwhile, actually enhancing the experience of fast-moving aliens and explosive debris rushing outward toward the viewer.  You know it’s effective when you jump backward in your seat.

The rest of the time you’ll be on its edge.


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