Written by Guest Contributor: Jefferey Pinkos An alien race of unstoppable killing machines has invaded Earth, and yet all we can talk about is a TV weatherman who had one hell of a day back in 1993. Certainly Doug Liman’s actioner Edge of Tomorrow borrows the language and structure of Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day, but the concept belongs entirely to video games.
His mission —regardless of whether he chooses to accept it —is to rid Earth of the scourge of these damn bastard alien bugs. Sure enough, first time out dude gets fragged; respawning instantaneously at his last save-point back at the base he woke up at to get Southerned at again by Bill Paxton.
All of which yields an interesting dramatic dilemma. Say you’re like me and you’re replaying Dishonored for the umpteenth time. You have been here dozens of times before. Now you know the layout, you know who goes where when. You anticipate reaction, you know shortcuts. By all intents and purposes you’ve achieved God mode. (Interesting note: “I’m a god. I’m not the god, I don’t think.”—Groundhog Day’s Phil Connors.) This is cheating. Death loses its dramatic spark once it loses meaning.
Fortunately, the writers have found some interest byways around that. There’s a fabulous, funny training sequence that embraces the silliness of the concept: broken leg, “no, I’m okay,”death; broken arm, “no, I-,”death; “stop, please, really,”fuckin’death. Plus, the writers understand that it’s cheating. The alien beasts are on hard mode — knowing the future before the battle, a handy means of introducing and contextualizing the concept —so it’s fair-ish.
But Blunt reveals she had it previously, and lost it; sure enough, before the boss battle, Cruise loses it, a transparent move to up the stakes. It’s occasionally interesting, breathlessly paced, transparent a B-level movie but it; ets the concept pull the weight of otherwise unremarkable action. Put simply, it’s probably the best video game movie out there, something that isn’t that high a hurdle to jump.
Director: Doug Liman Writer: Christopher McQuarrie and Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth Studio: WB/Village Road Show Run Time: 113 mins Release Date: 6/6/14