Amongst all the blockbusters released this year, one little gem seems to have fallen through the cracks without much notice. Hampered by a pretty silly name and lost amongst all the sequels and franchise tentpoles, Doug Liman’s ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ didn’t do great box office or pick up the strong word-of-mouth it should have. More’s the pity, because this is the thing: ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is a great film. A really great film, and one that deserves to be seen and enjoyed. Where so many big Hollywood films seem to just be the same rubbish recycled over and over again, these two hours are one hell of a breath of fresh air.
A race of aliens called Mimics have begun an invasion of Earth, and mankind is frantically holding them back. Public relations officer Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) finds himself out of his depth when he is dropped into a major beach offensive on the coast of France, even though he has no battle experience whatsoever. Within minutes Cage is killed by a Mimic... only to wake up twenty-four hours in the past. Over and over, Cage relives that one day, always dying in the end, and for reasons he doesn’t understand. His only hope and the only person who believes him is Special Forces officer Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a decorated war hero who believes that Cage might be the key to ending this hopeless war.
SWITCH: 'EDGE OF TOMORROW' TRAILER
‘Edge of Tomorrow’ instantly places itself amongst Liman’s best films, and easily one of the most original blockbusters in years, with a killer premise at the heart of it. Essentially ‘Groundhog Day’ as an action film, the team on and off screen have an absolute blast with the tremendous possibilities the repeating of the same space of time offers them. As we follow Cage’s successes and failures from the lessons he learns as each day repeats, we discover the truth behind his ability and the invasion as he does. It also limits the locations used in the story, giving the narrative great focus. The film moves with energy and bombast, shot with copious nods to Second World War footage and films, and bolstered by an intelligent and witty screenplay. It never takes itself too seriously, but doesn’t miss opportunities to deliver a few jumps, especially with the beautifully designed Mimics, tentacled nightmares that move with horrific speed. The beach invasion sequences are absolutely spectacular, a dizzying ballet of explosions and combat that, even with the constant repeats, never gets dull. Liman isn’t always a director that hits his target, but when he does, like with ‘The Bourne Identity’ (2002) and like he very much does here, he offers a refreshing new perspective and variation of the action blockbuster.
Some people find Tom Cruise irritating and a deterrent, but I fall very much in the camp that enjoys him as an actor, and his performance in ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is a cracker. Initially, Major Cage comes across as an arrogant unlikeable ass and we have little sympathy for him as a character, and it is to Cruise’s credit that he allows Cage to be as such, giving more room for the character to evolve into a genuinely engaging protagonist. There’s no denying his tremendous charisma on-screen, and Liman uses this to his advantage. Emily Blunt, the last person you’d expect in an action film, proves herself a considerable action star, demonstrating unexpected spunk and brute force, as well as cracking energy with Cruise.
‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is a sci-fi action sleeper classic in the making.
Trust me on this one, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is a sci-fi action sleeper classic in the making. I can’t wait for the inevitable day that people finally discover this film and realise what they’ve been missing. It’s not perfect by any stretch, but there’s so much to celebrate and embrace in this film - and it’s also not a superhero film, which is a big plus. Don’t waste anymore time, give ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ a shot despite its forgettable title. You’ll find the film far more difficult to forget.
PICTURE & SOUND
Roadshow use the same transfer as the U.S. Warner Bros release, and this is a very good thing. The 1080p 2.40:1 transfer bursts with detail and precision, perfectly recreating the authentic and gritty texture Liman and cinematographer Dion Beebe’s impressive visual landscape. There’s so much detail to take in, especially in the battle sequences, and the Blu-ray transfer maintains that detail and clarity. The same can be said for the bombastic DTS-HD MA 7.1 track, which again really hits its stride during the battle sequences. The visual assault is bolstered by the aural one, and the track will probably become a standard for showing off sound systems. Overall, as impressive a presentation you would expect for a recent major film.
As surprising as the film itself is the small yet entertaining collection of features on offer. Shorter featurettes cover the execution of the beach sequences, the weaponry design and the design of the Mimics, but the best feature on offer is a 40-minute profile on Doug Liman and his work on the film. While it mostly focuses on the director, it turns out to be a fairly comprehensive and candid overview of the production. A few moments are repeated from the featurettes, but overall it offers just enough making-of material about the film to leave you satisfied. There are also a collection of deleted scenes.
‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is also available on Blu-Ray 3D.