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‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Review : Time to give Cruise another go, guys!

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Caffeinated Clint

Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole.

Let me guess, as far as you guys back in the terminal are concerned, Tom Cruise’s propeller is so lacking in whirly these days, and his carriers nothing more than a parade of cleanliness and replacement parts, that purchasing a ticket for his new movie isn’t exactly atop of your must dos. Right?

Might be time to give Cruise another shot, then.

“Edge of Tomorrow” not only moves at a nice pace down the tarmac but shoots for the sky for most of its swift 113 minutes.

Don’t rob yourselves of another solid Tom Cruise movie just because the guy lives a different life to you and me. It’s really only the guy on screen we should be concerned with anyway – and that guy’s done nothing but entertain us for the better part of thirty years now.

But I know, I know… despite the fact that the couch-jumping incident was near a decade ago, and those crazy Scientology stories have been replaced by photos of a Kardashian butt in the tabloids, Cruise still doesn’t seem to have won back that barrage of movie fans he had in the ’80s and ’90s. And likely won’t ever. And that’s a shame, because by ignoring anything with a ‘Cruise’ in a credit block, a good section of the movie-going community is going to deliberately mug themselves of some good cinema.

Can I convince you by telling you that that Cruise leaves the vanity mirror at home for this one?
He plays the ‘unlikely’ hero – somewhat even slightly boring – and though his hair remains in one place throughout the thing, the DP doesn’t seem to have been instructed to focus on the “prettiness” of the star, over everything else. In fact, Cruise – you’re going to want to sit down for this – even keeps his shirt on in this one.

Have I swayed a couple? Come on!

Based on the novel “All You Need is Kill” (which was also the film’s original title – and would’ve worked better than the current one) by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, “Edge of Tomorrow” centers on Lt Col. Bill Cage (Cruise), a fairly boring desk jockey that’s forced to suit up and join his fellow man in a battle against an alien race. But on his first day, Cage is caught in a time loop; from here on, he lives his last day over and over, each time being killed (in new and creative ways). Celebrated soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) gets wind of Cage’s infliction and, having experienced it before, trains him to become the best soldier he can be – so that he can wipe out the extra-terrestrials before its too late.

Cruise plays the Matt Damon role (or maybe it’s that his character is somewhat reminiscent of the one Damon played in “Elysium”), that of a likeable normal guy thrust into a rather crazy, tense situation in a film that’s as clever as it is fun-in-cheek. It doesn’t feel new as far as plots go (“Groundhog Day”, “Source Code”… we’ve seen this template rejigged many-a-time), but it still evokes a certain freshness and funkiness. That fresh touch can likely be attributed to its seasoned solid-thriller director Doug Liman. Like some of his previous films, namely “The Bourne Identity” and “Mr & Mrs Smith”, the filmmaker has infused the seriousness of the story with some welcome, upbeat laughs – as if to almost wink at the audience, signifying that he’s all too aware of the silliness found in a modern-day blockbuster.

“Tomorrow” doesn’t seem to have any other desire but to entertain – and that’s why it works. It comes complete with a light libretto (sans message), no award-worthy scenery-grabbing turns, and none of the characters have any sort of back-story to speak of. It’s a fast, fun and friendly film — determined to chase the tea-sipping snots out of the foyer.

It’s not exactly the two-hander the marketing campaign would have you believe (seemingly aware that Cruise isn’t a big-ticket item anymore, they’ve got his female co-star’s face and name also on the posters), but the delicious Emily Blunt makes for one of the better offsiders Cruise has had of late. Surprisingly, the all-smiles yank and the English rose actually have chemistry — and none of their sweeter scenes feel forced. They’re a great pairing.

As for the supporting thesps, they don’t have a lot to do – considering the nature of the storyline – but Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton, and Australia’s Kick Gurry, also work well with Cruise in their few, brief scenes together.

Truth be told, audiences are doing themselves an injustice if they’re staying away from Tom Cruise vehicles. While nobody’s gonna argue that there’s a few runs in his tights, you can’t say Cruise doesn’t know how to entertain. Expunging the egotism tête-à-tête from the argument altogether, have a think about the movies Cruise puts out — even if you’re not a fan of his work, you can’t say the films he plonks himself in aren’t of a certain calibre. The guy picks his films better than a top bookie picks his ponies; whether it’s a “Mission : Impossible” sequel, a Paul Thomas Anderson ensembler, a science-fiction yarn like “Oblivion”, or Hollywood piss-take “Tropic Thunder”, he knows how to pick them. Look beyond the Scientology club card poking out of his hip pocket, and pretend for a minute the guy does look as good as that without help, and you might just find yourself entertained by some of the best fare Hollywood has to offer. And psst! You do know it’s an actual requirement to be crazy if you want to work in Hollywood, right? You’re just not supposed to know that.

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About Caffeinated Clint

Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole.

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