Edge of Tomorrow sports a fine premise for these entertaining times: what if you woke up inside a video game? Specifically, what if you had to go through the brutal grind of dying over and over and over again in order to reach your final objective, learning just a little bit more each time before starting again at the beginning? That’s the fate of Major William Cage (Tom Cruise), a PR-man-turned-extremely-reluctant-soldier who gets caught up in an alien invader’s time loop. (The alien uses the same learn-and-repeat technique to secure victory for itself.) Cruise is well cast; his standard expressions of both knowing mastery and dumbfounded “This again?” disbelief are expertly and appropriately deployed.
Edge of Tomorrow
Writer Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) handles the concept with aplomb, letting us share Cage’s weary frustration via repetition, then giving us a scene that makes it clear he’s been here a hundred times before we ever showed up. And he’s smart enough to know that the real interest here is what effect this kind of life would have on human relationships, particularly Cage’s partnership with supersoldier Rita Vrataski (a lithe and lissome Emily Blunt). But while he raises the question, he never quite manages an answer. The montages pile up, the Final Boss awaits, and having gone meta at the outset, the film seems content to slide into First Person Shooter mode for the big finish. And if you sit still, you might just unlock the secret Summer Blockbuster ending.
Special viewing bonus: Bill Paxton, enjoying the hell out of his turn as a bloviating master sergeant.