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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Movie review: Tom Cruise is excellent in 'Edge of Tomorrow'

  • Tom Cruise first dabbled with science fiction just over a decade ago when “Vanilla Sky” dazzled some viewers but made others go, “Huh?” But he stuck with the genre, going on to star in “Minority Report,” “War of the Worlds” and “Oblivion.” His newest, “Edge of ...
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  • Tom Cruise first dabbled with science fiction just over a decade ago when “Vanilla Sky” dazzled some viewers but made others go, “Huh?” But he stuck with the genre, going on to star in “Minority Report,” “War of the Worlds” and “Oblivion.” His newest, “Edge of Tomorrow,” adapted from “All You Need Is Kill,” the 2009 English-language novel by Japanese writer Hiroshi Sakurazaka, is full-fledged spectacular science fiction.
     
    An alien race of Mimics – scary, fast-moving, multi-tentacled creatures – has invaded Earth, and over a five-year period, has taken over most of Europe, bloodily mowing down anyone in their path. An international military has come up with the United Defense Force, an elite group of specially trained soldiers who are outfitted in exo-skeleton body armor, with massive guns attached.
     
    The film is also an example of full-fledged spectacular warfare, with fighting men and women jumping out of aircraft onto a beach in France, where they are slaughtered by enemy forces who know they’re coming. Beach, France, slaughter ... that’s about the only nod toward Normandy and D-Day, because things pretty quickly splinter off into very different tangents.
     
    There are lessons to be learned here. Like when you’re in the armed forces, don’t cross your superior officers. Major Cage (Tom Cruise) has the cushy job of working in U.S. Army Media Relations, doing PR work rather than fighting. But when General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) assigns him to head up a movie crew at the front line of a big attack they’re mounting against the Mimics, and the major balks, then downright refuses to take part in anything that could get him hurt ... well, that’s when you find yourself knocked out and later realize that you’ve been demoted to private, labeled a coward in front of your fellow soldiers and are on your way to the front lines, not with a camera crew, but with guns attached to your exo-suit. And hell, you don’t even know how to turn off the safety.
     
    Here’s where the film presents a small glitch, one that will go away and be forgotten about pretty quickly. Private Cage, knowing nothing about battle, having had no training, is indeed thrown to the front, where he is killed. Yup, Tom Cruise is killed in the first act. But then he wakes up, is sent to that beach battle again, is killed, wakes up. This goes on for a bit, and no one watching will not be thinking about “Groundhog Day”in which Bill Murray keeps reliving the same day.
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    But even though the time loop business is brought up again and again here, and is the driving force is the film’s plot, this is no “Groundhog Day.” It goes off in different directions, it’s much more violent and, at times, it’s much funnier. Whenever Cage relives the beach scene, he not only does it as a better soldier – having figured out how to fire and reload his weapons – he also does it with the knowledge of what’s going to happen to him and those around him, so he can sidestep where an alien might be attacking or push away someone who’s about to be crushed by a falling aircraft.
     
    One of the reasons the film is so good is that it makes up a set of rules pertaining to the logic of the plot, then it ignores them and makes up different rules. Another reason is the way it manages to blend its PG-13-style violence with humor, some of it courtesy of dialogue or body language, some of it from its approach to fast-paced, repetitive editing.
     
    The best thing about the film is Tom Cruise. He’s convincing in every mood he plays, in every reaction he gives, and there are plenty of both to go around. Cocky, frightened, funny, he does them all well, and his big nose is an amazing thing to see in 3-D.
     
    Ed Symkus covers movies for More Content Now.
     
    EDGE OF TOMORROW
    Written by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth; directed by Doug Liman
    With Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Noah Taylor
    Rated PG-13
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