Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

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Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Post  BoG on Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:19 pm



Incomplete broadcasts at the start reveal that Earth had been invaded recently by an alien threat - the invasion seems confined to Europe, initiated by a meteor strike in Germany. The military general in charge is played by Brendan Gleeson. Tom Cruise stars as a spokesman for the military; he makes his living by appearing on these TV shows and explaining the latest military strategy, mostly about the new battle suits which turn normal soldiers into super soldiers. Emily Blunt is a soldier who gained fame recently by being the most effective fighter in killing the aliens. Cruise's character, Cage, though in military uniform with the rank of Major, has no actual combat experience and is more than content to sit through this war far away from the enemy lines. But, things do not go as planned for him: in a meeting with the general in London, Cage is ordered to the front lines so that he can do his selling based on firsthand observation of the latest battle plan and invasion of France. Cage balks, even stating that he's not really a soldier and that, being an officer of the USA, he is not under the Brit general's command. But, steps have been taken to accommodate this; Cruise then makes his biggest mistake - an attempt at blackmail.

Cage then compounds his error by trying to run; he gets tasered and wakes up on a mound of military gear bags, handcuffed, stripped of his rank and labeled a deserter, on a base preparing for the assault against the aliens. He meets his commanding sergeant (Bill Paxton) and his squad, most of whom look down on him with contempt. Cage, rightfully so, feels that his lack of training and experience will make him an early casualty, but it's even worse than that: the invasion on a beach is a disaster for the humans - the aliens appear to have been expecting the attack and everyone falls quickly. The aliens - called "Mimics" - seem non-humanoid, like no lifeform on Earth, but they fluctuate in shape and their rapid movement makes it difficult to make out distinguishing features; they're bluish-black in color and seemingly composed of a mass of tentacles and a beastly lizard-like face. Cage gets lucky and kills a large "Alpha Mimic" but is himself killed by the alien's acidic blood. Here's where it gets very bizarre: Cage suddenly wakes up back on that mound of military bags, as if the past day never happened. His first thought probably is that it was some weird dream, but he again meets his sergeant and the squad, and it's now obvious to him that events are repeating.

Famous previous examples of this premise are Groundhog Day and 12:01 (both 1993), featuring a character repeating a day. But, those were comedies while this is an intense sci-fi thriller - not that it doesn't have moments of dark humor.  Though Cage knows what will happen by the time he drops on that beach again, he dies again just as quickly - this time trying to save another soldier. The repeats continue - he runs into the famous Rita (Blunt), the best soldier in this fracas, and after a few more repeats, she realizes that he is what she used to be - she had also been repeating this day (explaining how she became the best soldier) but lost the ability  after a blood transfusion. It turns out that the aliens are the ones who have the ability to turn back time a day's worth; it's these large Alpha Mimics which facilitate this and that's why they knew of the invasion. But, when Cage killed one and got its blood in his system, he took over the time jump back - it now resets each time he's killed. The goal now is to get to the alien brain and destroy it, but no matter how many times Cage repeats, he and Rita are unable to get off that beach alive. Even when they finally succeed, they still get killed a ways down the road. At one point, weary of this repetition, Cage opts to leave the base before the battle (he had a  lot of time to figure out how) and goes to London to simply relax, but the aliens invade London and kill him anyway.
The story takes the concept of gallows humor to a new level: in order for the plan to kill the alien brain to succeed, Cage has to keep dying; if he, for example, gets injured and has a blood transfusion, he will lose the ability to go back a day. Therefore, he will no longer have foreknowledge of events at a certain point and his next death will be permanent. So, to assure that their plan is to work, Rita takes care to execute him when he gets injured, even during training exercises. The repetition can be maddening even to the audience and there is one aspect of this the film was unable to explore: Cage, after all, dies violently  and usually painfully each time; he obviously retains the memory of each death; at a certain point, after a certain number of deaths, it must begin to affect him psychologically, or until he gets numb to the whole deal. The film does show how he evolves from novice soldier to ultra-experienced combat veteran - this is well done. The battle suits are what was expected to be a key in Starship Troopers (97) - the original Heinlein novel had such suits and there were similar suits in the novel The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. The finale lapses into the standard frenetic action of all big action films these days, but director Doug Liman does a great job otherwise, much like he did on The Bourne Identity (2002), but on a larger scale. Cruise, Blunt and all the actors give above average performances. BoG's Score: 8.5 out of 10
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What if Edge of Seventies Blaxploitation?

Post  BoG on Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:04 pm

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