Edge of Tomorrow aka Live, Die, Repeat (2014)

Several people have mentioned this movie to me as "Live. Die. Repeat." That title, which was not the final one, is probably more descriptive than the one they settled on. This movie rubs me the wrong way from the start with its combination Groundhog Day and Timecop with its treatment of time. The basic premise is that Tom Cruise is part of the human fighters who are waging war against some big alien bugs on Earth when he shoots one and gets dripped on - and that gives him the superpower of being able to die and relive the same day over and over.

I know I started this review on a down note, but I actually enjoyed the movie. It has a kind of Starship Troopers vibe to it, but it is almost like they decided to do a gritty reboot. So, it has some of the same flair with a bit more realism. It has some great special effects, and it does a very good job of setting up the story and following through with a romance and a series of complicated steps and processes that Tom has to go through to try to methodically plan out his day.

To help Tom through his day to day living and dying, he discovers Emily Blunt. She is the very pretty and very deadly face of recruitment for the humans, as she was known as the hero of one particular battle. We aren't really sure at first what she did or why she was so awesome, but we eventually understand that she can help Tom by leading him through his day and also figuring out what the time travel means, and what he needs to do with it.

As is inevitable with these time loop movies (and TV shows - a number of them have done something similar) there are quick cuts in the middle that go from one death to the next to the next as Tom learns the pattern of how things happen and how he has to avoid them. The issue with this technique is that it deadens the audience's feelings about the consequences and a certain amount of lethargy sets in. It's hard to recover the sense of desperation and fear of repercussions.

I keep coming back to the drawbacks of the looping story, but the fact is that you can do it well, just like Groundhog Day did. This movie did more with it than I expected. I can't help but think that this would have been a better movie if the one thing that was central to the plot - this time loop - was eliminated entirely.

Direction was good
Acting was very good
Effects were very good
Action was good
Editing was good
Story was okay

Bottom Line: Groundhog Day in a futuristic war zone works pretty well.



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