Sunday, October 5, 2014

Video review: "Edge of Tomorrow."

American ticket buyers continue to give Tom Cruise movies the stink-eye, but that doesn’t mean the films aren’t any good. Case in point: “Edge of Tomorrow,” a solid science-fiction thriller that didn’t amount to any great shakes at the domestic box office (though it fared better overseas).

The concept is mash-up of familiar ideas we’ve seen in other movies: creepy alien bugs are threatening to take over the Earth, and we’ve got to stand our ground. Cruise plays William Cage, a smarmy advertising exec-turned military spokesman, who finds himself dumped into a massive assault effort without any combat training or experience.

And… he dies.

Not surprising, given his applicable skillset (or lack thereof). What is surprising is that he wakes up, alive, and it’s the morning before the operation. He gives the mission another go. And dies. And tries again. Dies… though he lives a little longer this time.

It seems Cage got infected with some alien goo that affords him the power to travel through time and “reset the day,” a la “Groundhog Day.” So he makes it his duty to keep trying to find a winning solution to the disastrous war plan. He recruits an ally in Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), the gruff war hero he helped turn into a celebrity.

The action scenes are frenetic and absorbing, with Cage having to learn to use one of those cool exo-skeleton/armor thingees that seem so prevalent in sci-fi flicks these days. Director Doug Liman directed the first, and best, Jason Bourne movie, and knows how to keep the main character seem grounded amidst a fantastical backdrop.

The aliens are a bit of a disappointment, resembling balls of metallic tentacles that roll and thrash around the screen. They’re video-game boogums, meant to scare us and be blown away.

“Edge of Tomorrow” has occasional bouts of supreme silliness, but it’s worth a look… or two.

Video extras are OK. The DVD version comes with two featurettes: “Weapons Of The Future” and “Creatures Not Of This World.” Upgrade to the Blu-ray combo pack and you add another featurette on filming the storming of the beach, deleted scenes, an interview with Liman and an “Adrenaline Cut” of the film’s signature action scenes.



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