And when I’m referring to “Bitch” I’m not referring to Tom Cruise.
Edge of Tomorrow, the latest sci-fi endeavor from the controversial actor, should rank among his best performances. In fact, Mr. Cruise puts himself through twenty-three varying scenes of personality throughout director Doug (The Bourne Trilogy) Liman’s trailblazer. And he shows a helluva lot more range in these 113-minutes than he has in anything since ’99s Magnolia. Dubiously unconvinced at first, Cruise’s Cage’s numerous deaths showcase acts of despair, defiance and even truculence. By the end of the film, he’s no less than a 5’7″ Marcus Fenix.
Actually, can you think of another active A-list actor this prolific within science fiction cinema than Tom?
Uh, scratch that. Let’s move away from that argument for a moment. This Monsignor knows that despite Vanilla Sky (mindfuckery at its best), War of the Worlds (not the best remake; but certainly not the worst), Minority Report (crazy, but this is my fav Spielberg movie ever), and Oblivion (a highly underrated venture from last year), you’re likely still not going to like the guy. And yet although he leaped on Oprah’s couch a millennium ago — and, for the most part, has only been in the Scientology spotlight thanks to South Park — there’s still no way you’re falling for this moody persuasion.
So, with apologies to our “Dynast” Dana Keels, how about going so far as to claiming that E.O.T. is the greatest video game-to-film adaption ever?
Aw, you’ve done did it again, Moody. Edge of Tomorrow isn’t a video game. We know this. But hell if it doesn’t feel like one, or in fact several. Gears of War initially comes to mind, with full-body mech-suits that will remind you of Mr. Fenix and Company’s signature hardware. Even the slithery foes Major Cage and his own “Delta Coalition” (including the great Bill Paxton in a complete chameleon performance) face, Mimics, resemble a deadly combination of Alien Xenomorphs and the Locust from that great gaming trilogy. They’re fun. And while the Saint Superkick and yours truly weren’t able to witness all the action in 3D, it’s been said that the 3D in no way shape or form takes away from Liman’s handheld brilliance.
Thankfully, the film isn’t entirely reliant on CGI. There’s no mystery that Tom Cruise is a persistent bastard when it comes to performing his own stunts and many of the action scenes — again, no matter how many times they’re repeated — are some of the most impressive to date. All this, coming off the heels of the master Winter Soldier and Days of Future Past. This movie won’t come anywhere close to those in terms of sales receipts, but the action is surely on par. Remember Saving Private Ryan (my other fav Spielberg flick)? Well, Edge of Tomorrow is that classic’s sci-fi equivalent.
Also, I’m quite aware that this plot device has been done before. So much so, that I was having a tough time deciding which title to use for the review: “Blunthog Day; 50 First Deaths; Source Cruise; Run Cage Run; even Gears of War: Reset Edition.” Most movies — if not adapted from novels, biographies, short stories, past cinema, comic books, toys, and, gulp, video games — find a way to use a past plot device and add their own variation to it; you know, like Lenny Kravitz finding inspiration in Jimmy Hendrix. Thankfully, Liman, Cruise and company find humility and plenty of humor in these “dying resets” and use the device to teach a story about fate, sacrifice and humanity that doesn’t undermine all the fantastic action.
Above all else, the grounded force in the movie comes from the performance of Emily Blunt. Funny we just published an article about arguably one of the most important and powerful female characters in cinema, because Blunt (known more for her Victorian lunacy in chick flicks like The Devil Wears Prada) does her damnedest to make Ms. Ripley proud. This also says a lot more about Cruise’ growth as an actor, since he’s always needed a more outgoing sidekick (Foxx, Kilmer, Seymor Hoffman) to play off his usually steely self. Viewers will also be happy to know that romance isn’t the number one reason Blunt was cast. In fact ***spoiler alert, I guess!*** the pair of moments that they do share romantically — in addition to being very well played by Cruise — are used more to push the film towards its resolution than that of a cheap thrill, or the selling of a sexy poster.
Despite how stern, ruthless, and tom-boyish her Rita Vrataski can get, Blunt’s performance is as multi-layered as the principle loops used to give us one hell of a summer thrill.
Live. Die. Repeat. with Warner Bros’ Edge of Tomorrow in theaters today.