Bill Cage (Tom Cruise) wakes up in Heathrow airport, which is now a military base on the frontline in the war against alien invaders known as Mimics. He’s about to be shipped off to France in one final push against the ever-growing extra-terrestrial threat. He feels like he’s been here before though, and that’s because he has. An encounter with the “Omega” Mimic has left Cage in a time loop, waking him up back at the base a day earlier every time he dies.
That’s the pitch for Edge of Tomorrow, a bonkers mix of Starship Troopers and Groundhog Day that’s based on a Japanese novel fantastically titled All You Need is Kill. Earlier this week, we had the chance to preview about 20 minutes of the film and we’re happy to report that there’s a lot to be excited about.
We’re first treated to footage of a thumping battle scene, with Cruise’s cowardly and incompetent Cage floundering in the midst of crashing transport ships and aliens that look marvelously close to evil spaghetti monsters. This is also where we meet Vrataski for the first (and not the last) time, a sword-wielding badass played by Emily Blunt. We’re also introduced to a supporting cast that includes Bill Paxton as a snake-tongued general who sees death in battle as the ultimate victory, and a rag-tag group of soldiers who take an instant dislike to Cage’s cowardliness.
Along the way we see several moments of occasional interaction as well, with Cage getting to know Vrataski a little more every day as she continuously shoots him in the head so that he can start over again every time something goes wrong.
Doug Liman, who directed Edge of Tomorrow, stated that he was keen to emphasize the romantic aspects of the story, but the scenes that were shown to us only showcased around 2 minutes of genuinely intimate dialogue. That said, from what I saw there is near endless entertainment in watching Cruise gradually work out how to approach the situation through a process of trial, error and death.
Based on the 20 or so minutes of footage that were shown here, Edge of Tomorrow seems to be very aware of its own silliness (which is a good thing) and is both surprisingly brutal and absolutely bonkers.
Of course, the question that remains is whether or not this amount of repetition will work over a full-length feature. The video game aesthetic of Edge of Tomorrow (reflected in its rather spectacular tagline “Live, Die, Repeat”) brings to mind Run Lola, Run and, most recently, Source Code – both films that fleshed out their core concept to justify their feature length.
While it remains to be seen whether Edge of Tomorrow will hold up over the length of a feature, its boiled down showreel implies some genuine promise. It’s big, bombastic and always has its tongue firmly in cheek. I wasn’t particularly interested in the film up to this point, but I must admit that my attention is now thoroughly piqued.