Directed by Doug Liman (2014)
by Rosalie Kicks!, Old Sport at Moviejawn
As we creep closer and closer to apocalyptic doom there is truly only one person that pops in my mind that is qualified to save us: Tommy C. This pint-sized dude with the million-dollar smile has been saving humanity from world-ending disasters for years. Look at his resume: Legend, War of the Worlds, Oblivion. Honestly is there any other pair of hands that you would want gripping our fate? Have you seen how fast he can run? Have you seen his smile?
At least this is what I thought until I watched Edge of Tomorrow. In Doug Liman’s action romp Edge of Tomorrow, to my horror, Tommy C.’s character William Cage is quite loathsome. Major Cage manages public relations/affairs for the military and has never seen combat. Instead he is a talking head, spouting propaganda to convince people to join the battle against the alien invaders known as “mimics." For some reason, a general (Brendan Gleeson) decides it would be a great idea to send quick-talking, ill-equipped, no combat experience Cage into battle. Obviously, the schlub that is Cage objects. Despite his resistance, the General has Cage arrested, tasered and bagged for duty. The next scene shows Cage waking up on a military base and Bill Paxton informing him that he will be shipped out to the front lines tomorrow.
This role is not a typical Cruise character. Typical Cruise characters are good at EVERYTHING. They can run really, really fast, dropkick people, and smile while doing crazy gravity-defying stunts. Actions are done effortlessly and with finesse. In Edge of Tomorrow, we witness a struggling Cruise. A guy that pretty much sucks at life…until he meets Emily Blunt. Emily Blunt plays Rita, a tough-as-nails soldier that is extremely respected amongst her peers. Rita pretty much drives the story since she not only kicks ass (including aliens and Tommy C.) but she offers an explanation to the Groundhog Day scenario he is experiencing.
Somehow despite Cage’s inexperience he manages to kill a large unique mimic within his first few minutes on the battlefield. Cage is sprayed with the alien blood and dies…or so we think. The next scene Cage ends up back at the base, the day seems to have restarted. Remember: Live. Die. Repeat. Live. Die. Repeat. Initially, Cage tries to explain to his squad mates that they are walking into a trap laid out by the mimics, but of course no one listens to crazy Cage. So, we witness him time and time again going to the battlefield, struggling to use his weaponry and failing to stay alive. A sad excuse for a Cruise. Over time, he manages to remember the sequence of events (even managing to survive on the battlefield for more than a minute!) and eventually Rita (Blunt) notices. Before dying, she tells Cage to find her the next day.
Rita is familiar with what is happening to Cage as the same thing happened to her previously. Despite his lack of battlefield experience, Rita decides to take one for the team and offers to train him. She quickly realizes this is not typical Cruise and is going to take a lot of time. This is where the audience truly witnesses the awesomeness that is Rita. Rita kicks ass. Over the course of the film, you watch Cage and Rita try countless times to meet their end goal: save the world. At times, the dialogue back and forth between Cruise and Blunt is quite humorous.
I was surprised, how much I enjoyed this film and am shocked that it tanked at the box office (i.e. Warner Brothers was too busy promoting Zack Snyder’s next pile). I don’t typically find myself drawn to action films since the story and characters tend to take the back burner. Explosions, car chases, and machine guns are at the fore front...zzzzz. However, I found this story to be original and entertaining. It was also rad to see such a strong female character that took charge, was respected, and saved the world. It honestly made me question my Cruise choice. When the world ends, I think I’d rather find Emily Blunt in my corner.