There seems to be a bit of a pattern developing with Tom Cruise films. The set up for a lot his films seems to fit a formula which is brought around again and again. Tom Cruise as the dashing, figure and a comedic or strong female character to play against. Knight and Day, Oblivion, Jack Reacher and now the Edge of Tomorrow can be added to the list. He obviously enjoys playing the guy who is very much ‘in the know’ and has a smug grin on his face whilst he explains things to everyone and slaps them around the face with the ‘upper hand’ that he clearly has. This is exactly the case here.
Now don’t get me wrong. I did enjoy this film. It is fast paced, it’s a great idea and it ticks a lot of the blockbuster boxes.
The premise, bear with me, is that the world has been invaded by aliens, the leader of which can control time. It has the power to reset each day so that they eventually know exactly what the humans are going to do and can beat them very easily. Cruise’s character, William Cage, manages to acquire this power himself and so has to fight to use this to the humans advantage.
Emily Blunt is great as the feisty ‘full metal bitch’ who knows how to wield a massive ‘final fantasy’ style sword and make short work of the baddies. She once had the power that Cruise now has and so is keen to poke him and prod him so that he ends up being the perfect weapon to fight the baddies.
Whilst it’s not wholly original, it is a great idea and all of the possible fun that can be had with it are explored in the beginning parts of the film. Obviously Cage has to convince everyone who he is each day having done it multiple times before and you get to see a number of occasions where he is trying to be smooth but ends up looking like an idiot and has to start again. The good thing about these parts of the film is that Cruise is a funny guy. I mean he’s no Tommy Cooper, but he is obviously very comfortable with slap stick and obviously enjoys some of the funny dialogue he has.
As well as comedic elements, the time travelling brings about another aspect of the character Cage to be explored. At the start of the film we are shown Cage as the media savvy, face of the army who is a million miles away from the front line and that’s how he likes it. He loves his comfortable job and this means he is shallow and a bit wet behind the ears. Now with his new power he is able to change all this and slowly but surely become the kind of soldier that he needs to and be a bit of a better person. He obviously can’t get close to anyone though as he only ever knows them for a day and then it’s back to square one – here comes the love interest with Emily Blunt. For me they didn’t explore the change in character enough and just plough straight into the action and the love in with Emily Blunt. This in turn does lead to the film being very fast paced and energetic though so like a good park, it’s swings and roundabouts I guess isn’t it.
One rather large flaw to watch out for is the mind numbingly bad script. It is so clunky, generic and formulaic it is at times laughable. Bill Paxton is a great actor and here he is forced to spit out some awful, watered down, full metal jacket detritus about being a soldier “listen here maggot” etc. You would think with the mega budget that these films have they could have someone look over the script so that it doesn’t sound like a schoolboys attempt at being macho but this is not the case. Also whoever designed the baddies in this film ‘the mimics’ has obviously spent a lot of time watching the Matrix as they are literally a carbon copy of the ‘squiddies’ in those films.
Overall this is a good film but it does at times feel a touch rushed. The beginning of the film is blitzed through, so if you think you’re going to miss the first 10 minutes of the film pack it in and go home because you won’t have a clue what’s going on. It could have been fantastic this film, as the films that play around with time travel can be, like Groundhog Day, what a film. This one had the right ideas but didn’t quite get there for me. Which is a shame.
Cruise seems to do his best stuff when he breaks the pattern that he is setting up for himself. When he does a Vanilla Sky or a Tropic Thunder. Maybe he should do a few more of those and keep us guessing. Apart from Top Gun 2 which has been announced. He definitely needs to do that. That is getting watched.
So to round up, this isn’t a bad film. I give it 6.5 out of 10. It’s worth a watch but don’t busy a gut to see it.