Edge of Tomorrow

In Films by James Hay - Cinema Editor

When an insurmountable alien horde invade planet Earth and threaten to wipe out humanity itself, who else would be fighting our corner than perennially youthful action hero Tom Cruise. Along with an, it must be said, impressive Emily Blunt, TC goes all out to beat the invading force as he pushes himself right to the very Edge of Tomorrow.

This is an all out sci-fi, time travel action spectacular. And it’s just that. Spectacular. Computer generated special effects have certainly come a long way over the past couple of decades and this is as fine a showcase of their intricate detail as a means to completely disarm an audience and propel them face first into the world of suspended disbelief as we’ve seen in recent years. And you do require that element of disbelief if you’re to go on this circular Groundhog Day trip and not come out feeling nauseous.

Yes, there are a few plot holes or moments which can detract from the total immersion of the picture but only if you let them. Yes, you could wonder ‘how did they just steal that ship and fly off without anyone noticing?’ or start questioning the time loop/travel thing. And yes, you could not be such a stick-in-the-mud and just roll up your sleeves, sit back and go along with this ripsnorting roller coaster of a ride and have a jolly good time along the way!

Director Doug Liman (Bourne Identity) really pulls out the stops with some sensational action sequences and adrenalin-fuelled tension but these are all supported by a solid backbone of innovative science-fiction and compellingly paced story-telling. Whilst never really delving beyond the surface of these characters – Cruise is a cowardly PR guy turned super soldier, Blunt super soldier turned slightly more human super soldier because she lost someone she loved (or something like that) – and playing firmly in the entertainment arena; it doesn’t really need to do anything else. This film knows what it is and sticks to its guns. Literally.

Like him or love him (OK, OK, some people apparently don’t go for him these days), TC knows how to lead a movie and the chemistry with Blunt only serves to strengthen our engagement and involvement in his plight to ‘Live. Die. Repeat.’ And that’s exactly what he does. The time travel / sci-fi angle is given enough plot time to be believable and played with intelligently enough to feel original. And that’s where this movie really shines, in its originality. Granted, time travel and alien invasion aren’t original filmic concepts but Liman and co. combine to make you feel like you’re watching something fresh and exciting. Not being weighed down by the considerable baggage of a well-established franchise gives Edge of Tomorrow a chance to just let rip and go where it pleases.

As an action blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow absolutely delivers with superb special effects, heart-pounding action and enough innovative entertainment and comedic nuance to be right up there as one of the best of the year so far.