Director: Doug Liman
Cage (Cruise) is an ex-PR man, recruited into the army to fight the Mimics – an alien lifeform that has invaded and conquered mainland Europe – who has been used by the army to front recruitment campaigns. Determined not to actually fight in the war, Cage is horrified when he realises that the British general he is working for (Gleeson) intends for him to actually fight on the front line. He attempts to flee but is caught, knocked unconscious and taken to a military camp where he is thrown in body armour and sent to the front. The invasion goes wrong, the whole platoon is slaughtered but as soon as Cage dies he wakes up back at the camp, twenty-four hours before the battle. Before long he realises he is caught in a daily cycle, travelling back in time over and over again and reliving the battle, where he begins to try and save people’s lives. In one attempt, he realises that a world-renowned famous soldier (Blunt) realises what is happening to him and he tracks her down, to try and change the outcome of the day.
Cruise plays Cruise of course, but there is more characterisation here than you might expect. Cage is a coward, who becomes our exceedingly reluctant hero because he simply has no choice and he’s a much more relatable action hero as a result. Blunt, meanwhile, is doing a sterling job of transitioning to become the action heroine. After scene-stealing in Looper, her first step into lycra and body-armour feels like she’s been doing it her whole career. Who knew that posh girl from My Summer Of Love could anchor a Tom Cruise move and, at times, out-Tom Cruise the actual Tom Cruise? This won’t be the last time we see her battling aliens/monsters, I’m sure of that!
This may not be the most original film in the world, or the best in its execution (it struggles a little with its ending), but it’s still an original film in the midst of a summer of franchises. It’s been a good fifteen years since the movie studios committed the majority of their funds into the sure-bets of franchise success, resulting in lazy SFX-laden cashcows that rarely deliver any kind of quality. While Edge Of Tomorrow isn’t going to be remembered as an action classic, it will probably be the most original film we see this summer (though Interstellar will claim that title for the year). This ticks all the right boxes, without lazily relying on characters and a franchise that we have seen countless times before. I’d like a lot more of this please Mr Hollywood, and a lot less superhero hero reboots and floggings of the dead Transformers horse.