Movie Reviews

Published on June 6th, 2014 | by gareth

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Edge of Tomorrow

When the world falls under attack from a bizarre alien threat the world’s militaries unite to wage a desperate battle to save humanity. In the new film “Edge of Tomorrow”, Tom Cruise stars as Major Cage, a smug p.r. specialist who holds numerous interviews and press conferences convincing people to enlist and join the war effort and promising victory while keeping himself in safe locales far from the action.

When Cage learns that he is to be embedded with fighting units in a major offensive following the first victory by the humans, he balks and attempts to blackmail his new superior General Bringham (Paul Gleeson), into letting him stay away from combat zones.

Gleeson calls his bluff and Cage soon awakens at a forward base where his orders list him as a deserter who impersonates an officer and as such, is not to have any communication and is to be inserted into combat the following morning.

With no combat training at all since he was pulled from a P.R. firm and only had R.O.T.C. in college, Cage is highly unsuited to combat. He is not even capable of getting the weapons on his power suit to go off safety mode.

The battle goes badly and Cage and his fellow troops are decimated but shortly before his death, Cage gets himself up close and personal with the enemy and goes down in a blaze of glory.

Cage then unexpectedly awakens and it is the previous morning but he has all the knowledge of what happened previously. His efforts to warn his superiors fail and once again the invasion becomes a disaster. Cage is caught in a loop repeating the doomed mission but each time out he makes subtle changes and learns from his mistakes.

One such change has him encounter war hero Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) who oddly enough recognizes what is happening to Cage and instructs him to find her when he awakens.

Despite some effort, Cage manages to locate and convince Rita and the two of them work to build Cages combat skills all the while attempting to understand the nature of the enemy and what is happening to them.

With the advantage of being able to repeat the same day over and over the unlikely pair becomes the best hope for humanity and set about to save the day.

The film has a very solid and enjoyable premise and I liked the way they handled Cruise’s character. When I first heard of the film I thought he was a bit old to play a combat rookie unless they were hard pressed and forced him into duty but even then he would have some kind of training.

The film has some great supporting performances and great FX that really popped in IMAX 3D. I really enjoyed the action and the story and while if you really stop and analyze it you may find issues with the time loops and possible paradoxes presented, the main thing is that it is an action film that actually gives fans a story, solid characters, and an interesting premise.

Cruise and Blunt work well with one another and I must say that the film is right there with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” as the best film of the summer offerings to date in my opinion. Check this one out as you will not want to miss it.

4 stars out of 5.

 

 

Second Review by Ian Woodington

 

 

In this adaptation of All You Need Is Kill, Doug Liman directs Tom Cruise as Lt. Col. Bill Cage, a man whose cowardice lands him directly on the front line of the invasion to reclaim mainland Europe from an alien horde known as the Mimics. After less than five minutes in combat, Cage is killed and finds himself alive and back in handcuffs the previous day. Now caught in an endless loop that is reset upon his death, he meets Rita Vrataski, an infamous soldier who convinces him that in using this strange phenomenon to their advantage, they can find a way to ensure the success of the invasion and stop their seemingly invincible enemy.

 

Not as strong as some of his past work (I keep waiting for another nuanced and gritty performance to compare with the one he gave as Vincent in Collateral), Cruise once again proves he’s got the acting chops to carry another mammoth Hollywood blockbuster. He gives tremendous weight to the character of Bill Cage, especially in the moments where his feelings for Emily Blunt’s Rita begin to surface. It’s his charisma, and their chemistry, that drive the film even as we’re forced to endure the obligatory training montage. Though it should hardly be surprising with Emily Blunt in the cast, as she has time and time again proved that even if the movie turns out to be on the lackluster side (I’m looking at you, Adjustment Bureau), she’s going to give you something worth watching. A very welcome scene of Cage and Rita taking shelter in an abandoned farm house proves that without their pairing and the believability they bring to their roles, this could have been a much lesser film.

 

They unfortunately play against a supporting cast that is mostly forgettable, with the exception of Bill Paxton (despite this being a Sci-Fi flick, I will dispense with the customary Aliens reference that typically follows the mention of his name, or Private Hudson, in certain circles). Though doomed to repeat the same half dozen scenes, he manages to steal those (repeated and repetitive) scenes with genuine humor and the “I can’t bring myself to hate this character, even though I know I should” quality.

 

Behind the camera, Doug Liman has finally circled back around to the potential he displayed as an action director with The Bourne Identity. After the enormous mistake that was Jumper, his work here gives me hope that his career could firmly be back on track. With the news of a collaboration between Liman and Tom Hardy working on an adaptation of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell series, I won’t count my chickens just yet, but I find myself strangely compelled and more than a little curious to see what that final product could yield.

 

Added to Liman’s direction, we also have Dion Beebe’s masterful cinematography, framing a film that is never dull to look at and looking every penny of its near $200 million budget. Visuals pop off the screen and the creatures themselves, when the few moments arise that they aren’t moving at dizzying speeds, are a great piece of design work. It just a shame the same can’t be said for the script. Too much time is spent on the repetitive nature of the story and the ever-lurking possibility of futility in our hero’s actions. The Mimics in particular could have done with a good deal more screen time. Taking something from the montages and exchanging that for more insight into their character and motivations could only have served to strengthen their menacing presence.

 

Praises and pitfalls aside, I just can’t get past that ending. Within the last week, it has come up that the film was on the verge of production without an ending and though this isn’t as uncommon as some might think, with the safer route the writers took, it most certainly shows. Edge of Tomorrow had all the makings to be a stand-out in a summer blockbuster season that started weak and will most likely continue to be as we are bombarded with the ongoing trend that leaves little less than having the choice between sequel, reboot and remake. But just like Noah back in March, this is the second film this year that left me wanting. I went in skeptical, yet with hope, found myself pleasantly surprised and on the edge of my seat mid-way through, only to have the rug pulled out from under me in the final twenty minutes. I left reminded that you can dress up a great concept or an intriguing adaptation any way you like, with strong set-pieces, tight performances and awe-inspiring visual effects, but unless you can pull that third act together and give your audience an ending worthy of the two hours that has preceded it, the chances of your movie being remembered six months down the road by anyone other than a handful of die-hard fans are slim to none. An argument could be made for giving it 4 out of 5 stars, but as disappointed as I found myself upon leaving the theater, I have to settle on 3.

 


About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”.He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show.He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.



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