Movie review – Edge of Tomorrow: Save the planet. Repeat.

2014-06-15 15:00

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Perhaps Tom Cruise’s Scientology beliefs have stood him in good stead to make kick-ass sci-fi films.

The cult believes that our bodies are just the vehicles for intergalactic spiritual beings that have lived many past lives in extraterrestrial cultures – so lots of off-earth experience to draw from.

As such, Cruise, playing a human, is able to better understand the alien mind and defeat it – as he has to in Edge of Tomorrow, again and again and again.

Last year’s Oblivion was, along with Star Trek: Into Darkness, the best sci-fi film of the year. Edge of Tomorrow is heading for the title this year. Paired with the wonderfully versatile Emily Blunt, Cruise fights for the survival of the human race every day – the same day over and over again.

Blunt, who made her big splash as an assistant in The Devil Wears Prada, shows that she’s seriously good at acting in comedy and action movies.

She is Rita, nicknamed the Angel of Verdun by the media and Full Metal Bitch by her fellow soldiers. She is a special forces soldier. Cruise is Cage, a PR man for the army, who keeps well out of the way of blood and flying limbs, preferring to drum up enthusiasm for the war from the safety of the other side of the world.

After he angers the general in charge of the next great push against the deadly aliens, called mimics, Cage is shanghaied and ends up as an infantryman in what might just be humankind’s last stand. Needless to say, he dies about five minutes after being dropped from a helicopter. The weird bit is he wakes up again and finds that the day is starting again. Slowly and painstakingly, Cage learns, with the help of Rita, how to do better each day and use his accidental control of time to help change the course of the battle. It’s the film as video game, in a sense.

Director Doug Liman, the guy who remade The Bourne Identity, makes an edge-of-your-seat film, but this is no brainless action flick. Based on a novel by Japanese sci-fi writer Hiroshi Sakurazaka, it explores time travel cleverly and the relationship between Cage and Rita plays out in increasingly interesting ways. As Cage becomes more drawn to her, she doesn’t ever know him for long enough to feel for him one way or the other.

Of course, the real draw of this film is the action sequences and the thrill of watching the characters change their own fates and in the process save us all – what’s not to love?

Cruise, for all his peculiarities, is a good actor with a lot of range and he has box office clout. This one opened in the US last weekend and raked in almost $30?million (R321?million). Expect a repeat here.

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