(US - 2014)
Directed by Doug Liman. Written by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth. Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Noah Taylor, Kick Gurry, Charlotte Riley, Jonas Armstrong, Tony Way, Franz Drameh, Dragomir Mrsic, Masayoshi Haneda, Terence Maynard. (PG-13, 114 mins)
Admittedly, the trailers for EDGE OF TOMORROW didn't look promising. Based on the 2004 novel All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, EDGE appeared to be another chance to show Tom Cruise running around and saving the world, this time in a GROUNDHOG DAY-meets-STARSHIP TROOPERS scenario. Yes, that's part of the plot, and the film makes no secret that it's a mash-up potpourri of other military sci-fi films. But even before it establishes its central conceit, EDGE is subverting your expectations in creative and unpredictable ways. Yes, it fuses GROUNDHOG DAY and STARSHIP TROOPERS, and also ALIENS and WWII movies and video games and Tom Cruise running and feels like the kind of movie James Cameron might've made in the late '80s and early '90s before he publicly unleashed his inner Insufferable Asshole for all the world to see. But it takes those elements and sends them in an unpredictable direction, and when Cruise runs, he doesn't run like a hero saving the world. He stumbles and bumbles like a guy who's skated by on his personality and just likes wearing a uniform and whose grinning visage is all a show for the cameras. Cruise has some fun toying with his screen persona here, and that's just the beginning of the unexpected highlights that this furiously-paced, surprisingly inventive, and often quite witty sci-fi actioner has to offer.
JACK REACHER, two of Cruise's most underrated films, and is set to direct the next MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE entry) was brought in to write an ending and give the script one final polish.
OBLIVION. That was another film that stood on the shoulders of giants, but unlike EDGE, didn't take things to the next level. Contrary to the ho-hum trailer and TV spots we've been seeing, EDGE OF TOMORROW is incredibly entertaining and far better than it has any right to be, and it may very well be the summer's biggest surprise.