Edge of Tomorrow (in theaters at time of this review) is an adaptation of All You Need is Kill, a 2009 Japanese mini novel by author Hiroshi Sakurazaka.
Loosely following the plot of the book, the movie setting takes place on Earth, five years into an alien invasion. Nations have federated their militaries to create the United Defense Force (UDF) in a balls out, all or nothing attempt to thwart the alien advance. Continental Europe and most of what looks like Russia, APAC, etc are under the boot of the conquering alien when armed, mechanized personal armor is introduced to the fight. (Think a lighter version of Ripley’s lifter with rocket launchers and machine guns). The application of this new armor gains a decisive victory for the UDF…and a full, Normandy style deployment of manpower, augmented by the armor, is underway as a counterstrike when the movie opens.
The POV character, Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is a media relations officer. The set up of the movie has him being deployed to cover the invasion for propaganda purposes. Being in combat, much less an invasion, is something that he is adamantly opposed to and this leads quickly through events that leave him firmly positioned for the action that follows.
Not one to spoil movies for folks that haven’t seen them, I’ll share some thoughts that might pique interest.
Cage is deployed in the first wave of the attack. It’s a slaughter…what looks like hundreds of thousands of men and women get chewed up and humanity’s big push goes off with a whimper and a fizzle.
It would be a short movie if things ended there. This is where the “Live. Die. Repeat” from the movie’s marketing comes in…
Just as he dies…Cage wakes up again at the beginning of the deployment sequence. The rest of the movie is about him and the characters he is able to interact with figuring out how to change the future…as each time he dies, he resets to the beginning of his deployment. When he resets, he has continuous linear knowledge of what has happened up to the point he dies, but no one else does.
The results are interesting. The reveal on why this all happens is neat also.
I found the movie to be clever, engaging, action-filled and fun. Tom Cruise does a good job switching up is typical sci-fi character (you know, the one from Minority Report, Vanilla Sky, etc.) and comes off well in this movie. The movie even plays at the fourth wall a bit with dark humor…as you, the viewer, share the POV of Cage….so his irritation at being killed repeatedly becomes sort of a running gag. Its even played up to great effect when, sometimes, it happens SPECIFICALLY to reset.
In the end, its an entertaining and engaging movie. It seems to play at deeper message than one might suspect at first glance, but won’t get into that to avoid ruining it for folks that just want to have fun watching it.