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Film review: Edge of Tomorrow

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★★★☆☆

Over the last three decades the ever reliable Tom Cruise has saved the day countless times. At 52 however some doubts have been cast over whether he’s still got it after Oblivion and Jack Reacher teetered too close to being naff.

That’s not slowed Cruise down though, as he stars in Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow, and would you believe it, he goes and saves the day once more, hurrah! There’s life in the old dog yet. The twist here is that along the way he also gets to cock up countless times too, as if perhaps cleverly nodding to the collective understanding between actor and audience that after being in the game for so long there might be a little rustiness.

The world is at siege; aliens have appeared in disappointingly generic form and are disappointingly banal in their objectives. Major William Cage (Cruise) is the army's top PR guy, stirring up recruiters for the cause, selling the new combat suit to the masses as a sure fire way to serve your planet just like battle-hardened, Special Forces killing machine, Rita, played by Emily Blunt (pictured above).

Major Cage has never actually experienced combat before however and has absolutely no desire to do so until General Brigham, played by Brendan Gleeson, demands he shoot his next war promo from the front line. Cage kicks up a fuss but before he knows it, finds himself with some rather amateurish troopers right in the thick of it. An unexpected turn of events sees him relive through the same moments leading up to the beach assault, until he slowly (teetering on laboriously) drags himself, Rita and what remains of the amateur squad, towards our salvation.

It's very much your Groundhog Day stirred in with any sci-fi go-tos you can think of, the jokes through repetition are funny, and if you couldn't bear the thought of watching Cruise's running face repeatedly, (apparently he was even running from one shoot to the next, beating the crew in their buggies) it might be counterbalanced by watching him get shot repeatedly.

After the almost b-movie initial exchanges, the action turns hectic and Liman, who directed the Bourne Identity and Mr & Mrs Smith, uses that pace to keep things moving just before it gets stale. More perhaps could have been made of what Cage can do with his suit after what is essentially a protracted sci-fi Rocky training montage gag, but if that means total CGI overkill then, better off without it.

This fits rather snugly between Cruise's best and most recent sci-fi outings, Minority Report and Oblivion, not nearly as polished as one, but at the very least ticking some boxes unlike the other. 

Part of me came out of this thinking that if anything, Liman has missed an opportunity. At times a refreshing sci-fi action flick with some genuine humour it might just have wedged the wrong big name actors, due their piece of the blockbuster pie into the shapes of a potentially interesting concept. Could the same be said of Damon and Cox in The Bourne Identity?

That said it can just as easily be argued that Cruise and Blunt successfully prop up the film's strong points where lesser mortals may make you all too aware that this need not be much more than good summer blockbuster fun.

Edge of Tomorrow (2014), directed by Doug Liman, is distributed in the UK by Warner Bros. Pictures, Certificate 12A. Watch the trailer below:

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