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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Tom Cruise
Emily Blunt
Bill Paxton
Dragomir Mrsic
Charlotte Riley
Jonas Armstrong
Franz Drameh
Kick gurry.
Directors
Doug Liman.
Screenwriters
Christopher McQuarrie
Jez Butterworth
John-Henry Butterworth.
Running Time
113 minutes

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Edge Of Tomorrow
The Reborn Identity


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Plot
Lieutenant William Cage (Cruise) is the top PR man for the UK-based United Defence Force, which is fighting a major alien invasion that’s already swallowed most of Europe and Russia. After being demoted and press-ganged into service for ‘Operation Downfall’, the last big push on the beaches of Normandy, Cage is killed by one of the attacking “mimics”. Then he wakes up, alive again, on the morning of his second-to-last day...


Review
Edge Of Tomorrow
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On the face of it, there is nothing particularly original about Edge Of Tomorrow. Brush your hand across its gritty surface and you’ll smear the thin layer off a teeming nest of influences: Groundhog Day, the most obvious, for its time-loop plot engine (and by extension Source Code); Saving Private Ryan, for its French-beach brutality; Aliens, Starship Troopers and the Matrix trilogy for its bombastic portrayal of big-tech conflict with multi-limbed, insectoid-biomechanical extra-terrestrials. It’s exquisitely apposite that, if you’re coming to this film from a healthy upbringing on action-sci-fi cinema of the ’80s and ’90s (with Harold Ramis’ clock-resetting comedy being the one rom-com it was okay for you to love), you’ll experience a throbbing sense of déjà vu — only made more acute by the film’s shared chromosomes with last year’s Elysium and that other Tom Cruise-on-a-devastated-Earth picture, Oblivion.

None of which is to diminish Empire’s recommendation: director Doug Liman and his screenwriting triumvirate of Christopher McQuarrie and brothers Jez and John-Henry Butterworth (adapting Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s light novel All You Need Is Kill) wear all these influences well, and with pride. Why else enlist the ever-reliable Bill Paxton as a puff-chested, adage-chewing sergeant if not to wink at his past life as a colonial marine? Edge Of Tomorrow may be hugely familiar, but welcomingly so. And it also proves to be huge fun.

This is in no small part to the movie’s most significant influence of all: video games. While we still await an even remotely decent video game-to-movie adaptation, Edge Of Tomorrow provides the perfect substitute. It may not have spawned directly from any console-based IP, but it is thoroughly steeped in gaming culture and logic — mainly via Sakurazaka himself, who is also a programmer. Lay the film’s plot over a game-design template and you’ll find a pleasingly neat match. When Cage (Cruise) awakens into the first day of his enforced demotion (also the second-to-last of his life), he is effectively starting from a save point. When, eventually, a close encounter on that bloody beach with a tentacle-flailing, blast-furnace mouthed “alpha” — the end-of-level boss — causes his health bar to retract to zero, we snap back to that save point, and he must ‘play’ the two days again. With each replay, he must learn how to survive to reach the next ‘level’ (to ultimately meet the end-of-game boss), although, paradoxically, just as we learn from our mistakes in life, he must learn from his deaths. (If you’ve ever sunk days of playtime into a Dark Souls game, you’re guaranteed to sympathise.)

Part of this is through his power of recollection, plus development of muscle-memory: step left to avoid explosion here, shoot right to eliminate incoming mimic there — every repeated battle is pre-programmed, so he just has to learn the patterns. Then part of it is through a more straightforward regime of personal improvement — or ‘levelling up’ — which comes via Cage ‘unlocking new content’. Having mastered the timing of a roll between a truck’s wheels in one amusing and novel sequence, he is rewarded with access to a trainer (Emily Blunt as seasoned soldier Rita Vrataski) who not only provides him with the necessary information to progress to new ‘levels’, but also enables him to ‘spend’ his ‘experience points’ in her automated dojo.

If this all sounds as mechanical as the exo-suits Cage and his comrades wear, don’t be put off. McQuarrie and the Butterworths have crafted a rich and drily witty script that really takes the edges off the concept. Seemingly throwaway lines accrue layers of meaning as Cage relives, and relives, these two days. “Battle is a true redeemer,” barks Paxton’s sarge at his men; “tomorrow morning you will be baptised. Born again.” A little later, just before being dropped into the hotzone, a fellow grunt yells at Cage, the raw recruit, “I think there’s something wrong with your suit... Yeah, there’s a dead man in it!” So true.

The writers have fun with the whole death-to-progress concept, too. Once Blunt’s combat-hardened Rita joins Cage in his quest, it becomes her job to ‘press quit’ when things go wrong — by shooting Cage through the head. Also, after the plot’s loopy logic is firmly established (which, like any time-travel movie, raises more questions than it provides answers), they employ it to maintain tension: how much does Cage know? Has he been through this scenario before? It’s deliberately never clear just how many lives he’s already gone through to get to any given scene. It is a shame that the deaths themselves aren’t allowed to have more impact. In a previous era, this would have been a 15-to-18-certificate movie that would not have shied away from presenting Cage’s many and varied demises, gore and all. But the commercial pressure to audience-broaden has required Liman to cut away as much as possible, and a visual sense of trauma is lost.

Still, Cruise sells it brilliantly. Indeed, this is his strongest performance in some time and he revels in the character’s development. He starts out as a smug, smirking, weaselly coward, not above trying to blackmail an implacable general (Brendan Gleeson); Cage is so ineffectual, he can’t even switch off the safety on his hand-cannons. During his first drop he stumbles lamely about, watching his comrades die in the dirt, doing little useful to help them. But battle is a true redeemer, of course. So gradually, gradually, the weasel becomes a lion. Although not without a self-serving detour or two along the way.

Blunt, too, is on strong form, exhibiting a steely poise that makes her comfortably believable as a war-propaganda poster-girl known simultaneously as The Angel Of Verdun and Full Metal Bitch. She is less a romantic interest for Cruise (who seems to be going through an English actress co-star phase) than she is his mentor, and his foil. Doug Liman has always been an astute, experimental chemist, and while this isn’t quite the Brad-and-Angie lab explosion of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, it’s at least as strong a pairing as Matt Damon and Franka Potente in The Bourne Identity (which, incidentally, is another movie this comes to echo during one later episode particularly).

After the forgettable Jumper and Fair Game, it’s good to see Liman back on pyrotechnic form, orchestrating some inventive combat spectacle. This could well be his biggest hit yet — and Cruise’s for a good while, too. A rebirth, of a sort, for both of them. If nothing else, it’ll stand out as one of summer 2014’s most entertaining surprises.


Verdict
A playful and frantic science-fiction twister which mimics the best (Aliens, The Matrix, Groundhog Day) while offering something fresh and — most importantly — thrilling.


Reviewed by Dan Jolin

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Edge Of Tomorrow
Empire Star Rating

GO AND SEE THIS NOW.

Edge of Tomorrow represents a stance against Sequels, Reboots & Franchises. After hearing so many good things I sought out Edge of Tomorrow (after the initial marketing had put me off). I'm glad I gave this a shot. Engaging, thrilling and fun. It was difficult to seek out a screening but the place was packed as word so positive word-of-mouth is clearing spreading! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Macavity at 09:55, 11 July 2014 | Report This Post


GO AND SEE THIS NOW.

Edge of Tomorrow represents a stance against Sequels, Reboots & Franchises. After hearing so many good things I sought out Edge of Tomorrow (after the initial marketing had put me off). I'm glad I gave this a shot. Engaging, thrilling and fun. It was difficult to seek out a screening but the place was packed as word so positive word-of-mouth is clearing spreading! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Macavity at 09:55, 11 July 2014 | Report This Post


GO AND SEE THIS NOW.

Edge of Tomorrow represents a stance against Sequels, Reboots & Franchises. After hearing so many good things I sought out Edge of Tomorrow (after the initial marketing had put me off). I'm glad I gave this a shot. Engaging, thrilling and fun. It was difficult to seek out a screening but the place was packed as word so positive word-of-mouth is clearing spreading! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Macavity at 09:54, 11 July 2014 | Report This Post


GO AND SEE THIS NOW.

Edge of Tomorrow represents a stance against Sequels, Reboots & Franchises. After hearing so many good things I sought out Edge of Tomorrow (after the initial marketing had put me off). I'm glad I gave this a shot. Engaging, thrilling and fun. It was difficult to seek out a screening but the place was packed as word so positive word-of-mouth is clearing spreading! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Macavity at 09:54, 11 July 2014 | Report This Post


A wonderfully fresh film in a struggling industry full or sequels.

Read my full review on http://straighttelling.co.uk. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TroyPutland at 11:29, 24 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Edge Of Tomorrow

Really liked this. Pleasantly surprised. ... More

Posted by spamandham at 22:23, 19 June 2014 | Report This Post


Live.Die.Reinvent

Dear Misters Liman, McQuarrie, Butterworth, Butterworth, Herbert and also the rest of the Cast and Crew of „Edge of Tomorrow“. Thank you for a refreshingly WITTY, INTELLIGENT and Edge-of-Your Seat TWO-THIRDS of a Sci-Fi Spectacle. On behalf of a huge sci-fi community I would like to CALL OUT to all of you and ask could it be POSSIBLE for ONCE in moviemaking HISTORY to LIVE.DIE and REINVENT the third act just for the pleasure of all movie geeks out there who are so desperately see... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by urx100 at 22:01, 19 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Brilliant.

One of the most enjoyable films of the summer. Glad I skipped all the trailers for this. 9/10. ... More

Posted by Filmfan 2 at 11:40, 19 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Brilliant.

b]ORIGINAL: R Wollowing his 2002 thriller The Bourne Identity – which many saw as just laying down the groundwork for the superior sequels that were helmed by Paul Greengrass – Swingers director Doug Liman has dropped the ball recently from Mr and Mrs Smith to Jumper...i]Jumperood-if-you-squint movie that's easily the weakest entry in Liman's oeuvre. I haven't yet seen men't comment on that. Personally, I thought rs. Smithfun and funny rom-com / action genre hybrid that delivered on its p... More

Posted by max314 at 00:52, 17 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Finally saw it last night. This is how action cinema ought to be done. Granted, the film isn't about much more than promoting war as a character building exercise – but, with respect to craft, the film's peaks are reminiscent of John McTiernan in his prime. And Tomorrowt do much else other than peak. ★★★ ... More

Posted by max314 at 00:39, 17 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE:

L: TheGodfather Watched in cinema on thursday: tp://www.imdb.com/title/tt1631867/?ref_=nv_sr_1]Edge of TomorrowIn the media this is rightfully described as a mix of Starship Troopers and Groundhog Day. Liman makes, partially thanks to the excellent performance of Cruise, it a well balanced mix of humor, drama and action. Although the action is the front runner most of the time, the balance between drama and humor is excellent. The pace is high and it all looks excellent.The sh... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Pandora at 12:49, 16 June 2014 | Report This Post


Watched in cinema on thursday: tp://www.imdb.com/title/tt1631867/?ref_=nv _sr_1]Edge of Tomorrown the media this is rightfully described as a mix of Starship Troopers and Groundhog Day. Liman makes, partially thanks to the excellent performance of Cruise, it a well balanced mix of humor, drama and action. Although the action is the front runner most of the time, the balance between drama and humor is excellent. The pace is high and it all looks excellent.The shot in wich Cruise is dropped... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 10:40, 14 June 2014 | Report This Post


Brilliant.

Derivative? Yes. Extremely well executed? Absolutely. Cruise puts in a stellar performance here - Blunt manages to convince also. The Groundhog Day format never gets old or repetitive thanks to the decision to focus on different parts of the day during different "reps" - the plot / approach also changes direction a few times to keep things fresh! My one complaint is the introduction of a MacGuffin to solve one significant puzzle, while the final scenes stretch plausibility a little too... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Hillsman at 11:13, 12 June 2014 | Report This Post


BLISTERING Sc-fi Fun!!!

Blistering Sc-fi drama from director Doug Liman..!! Cruise once again confirms his status as action man in the thrilling Sci-fi drama. Here he plays Lieutenant Cage, a weedy PR man for the UK based United Defence Force thrust into "Operation Downfall" against thousands of alien hordes on the beaches of Normandy...what could have been a simple Solider / aliens mash up turns into something far more interesting as the plot goes all Ground hog day on us. Cage has to re - live dying ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ramone87 at 21:38, 10 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Ho-hum

L: sanchia L: neilarmour The most minor gripe, but worth mentioning, was the name 'Rita Vrataski'. Why couldn't they have given an English character a more English sounding name. William Cage is American, yet Rita Vrataski is English? doesn't really work for me. n the Japanese Manga she was American. n the Japanese manga the main character was Japanese and called Keiji Kiriya, yet they changed that. So why did they leave Vrataski? As I said it's not a major gri... More

Posted by neilarmour at 13:30, 09 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Ho-hum

L: neilarmour The most minor gripe, but worth mentioning, was the name 'Rita Vrataski'. Why couldn't they have given an English character a more English sounding name. William Cage is American, yet Rita Vrataski is English? doesn't really work for me. n the Japanese Manga she was American. ... More

Posted by sanchia at 11:06, 08 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Best blockbuster of the year

Thought this was decent fun but VERY derivative of other better sci fi movies ( Groundhog Day being the obvious inspiration ).Cruise is as good as ever but for a war film its rather lacking in threat and scares and the final half hour just conists of Cruise and Blunt shooting at blue cgi jello. 3 stars. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cool Breeze at 11:58, 07 June 2014 | Report This Post


Best blockbuster of the year

Funny, suspenseful, action-packed, and clever, with great performances. A breath of fresh air in a moviescape full of Marvel movies and remakes. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Madhava at 05:17, 07 June 2014 | Report This Post


Garbage in, garbage out

Empire, you promised thrills. Where were they? Are you gonna pay my money back? Yet more faceless (and completely pointless) alien hordes that looked like they got shat out by the squid in The Matrix, and Emily Blunt doing her usual impression of my table. I'm not hating on Cruise - Oblivion was good and hit most of its ambitious marks set the the director. The shit-eating last scene in this movie summed up the ambition here. Zero tension or wit anywhere from start to finish. This movie is for e... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jonny24 at 01:40, 07 June 2014 | Report This Post


MIMICRY.....?

Yet another Tom Cruise sci - fi flick and to be fair, it’s difficult to find anything to complain about in Edge of Tomorrow. The familiar London locations are drab but presented in a way that’s quite stunning. The action is loud and ferocious and the performances are all on the right side of entertaining. Alright, so there’s a bit too much basil exposition style alien guff about half way through which kills the excitement stone dead and I would have personally preferred that th... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ROTGUT at 17:14, 06 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Ho-hum

THIS PROBABLY CONTAINS SPOILERS ABOUT THE ENDING SO DON'T READ ON IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT. I went to see this last night and enjoyed it more than I expected... although it did fall down in several places that I have to say I hoped wouldn't happen but kind of expected. First, the script. It was full of formulaic, Hollywood nonsense that made me literally cringe in my seat. Having not been in the American military I can't really comment on whether the banter between the marines was real... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by neilarmour at 09:47, 05 June 2014 | Report This Post


Ho-hum

Just makes me laugh at all the idiots jumping on the hate Tom Cruise bus ( looking at you Azzurro06), probably without even seeing it, saying 'short this' and 'not tough enough' that....blah-blah..... Well, pull your head out of your arris and see the film for what it is. I'm not the biggest Cruise fan, but when a film is made well and the storyline feeds entertainment.....isn't that what we're all looking for in a summer blockbuster...? For me, as mentioned in previous posts, the trailer didn't... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Lol78 at 03:38, 05 June 2014 | Report This Post


Biggest surprise of year!

All the signs were there: the trailers looked awful. The dodgy premise. The fact that it was Tom Cruise attempting sci-fi… again. But. Somehow, they (the writers & Doug Liman) have managed to create a very impressive film and the best blockbuster of the year thus far! Cruise's performance is his best in years makes me look forward to the day when (if ever) he gets too old for this action malarky and takes up more talky roles again (A Few Good Men, Rain Man) because the lad can ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 19:07, 04 June 2014 | Report This Post


The most pleasing blockbuster of 2014 so far...

Strained video game analogies aside (Dan, don't do that), I agree entirely with the review. This was a thrilling surprise, gripping from start to finish, and Cruise plays the change from slippery coward to world-saving hero with absolute perfection. Actually very close to five stars in my opinion, but not quite brilliant enough for full marks. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by wedgeski at 11:50, 04 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Bourne Identity?

What a thoroughly remarkable surprise. Action packed, visceral, dark, funny, interesting, all the things a good slice of sci-fi action should be. It's vastly more entertaining that just about every other blockbuster to hit the screen this year, yet sadly I feel it's going to slip under the radar for many. 4/5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by paulyboy at 10:04, 04 June 2014 | Report This Post


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