It’s 15 minutes into the future and aliens on meteors invade Germany and quickly spread across much of Europe. The world’s militaries conglomerate into the United Defence Force and prepare to take on the aliens at the beaches of France from a staging area at Heathrow.
American Major and PR man William Cage finds himself in London expecting to do more PR work, but instead finds himself expected to take up combat duties. He attempts to cowardly weasel himself out of duties but fails and gets sent to the front lines. The battle is hopeless, the aliens knew about the offensive and decimate the UDF troops. Cage sees his squad massacred in front of him, but manages to kill the alien just in time, spilling its black, oily, acid-like blood all over him and dissolves…
And then he wakes up the previous morning and repeats the process – a la Groundhog Day.
It’s a film I’ve been waiting to watch for a while, and was expecting to be the roughly mediocre Hollywood sci-fi. Going in, all I knew about the film was:
- It’s Action Sci-fi
- Stars Tom Cruise
- Tag line is “Live. Die. Repeat.”
- …Aren’t those the exo-skeletons from Elysium?
Like most films with Tom Cruise, it’s hard to see a character and not Tom Cruise. This film is no exception, especially during the newsreel montage interspersed with clips of Cage doing his PR work. The difference between repurposed stock footage and scripted footage is somewhat jarring. Cage soon has his character established, but still remains inconspicuously Tom Cruise throughout the film.
The film seems to deliberately establish Cage as a confident PR man during the montage, then turn face heels when he’s drafted into combat duty. Cage first attempts to bargain and then blackmail to get out. My inference was that there was some nefarious reason he was being sent into combat or that there was a reason why he was so desperate to get out. Throughout the film I was expecting this to pay off, but it never did and seems to just be there to make his character arc, unlikeable coward to war winning hero, just that little bit bigger. Whatever. It works.
Emily Blunt plays the stoic Sergeant Rita Vrataski, who we learn had previously been in a timeloop like Cruise. Rita is a badass compared to Cage – it’s nice to see a female in such a dominating role. Rita is also just a little bit to genre savvy – she knows how the time loop blood works and she consistently has no hesitation shooting Cage in the head to reset a loop.
The pacing feels just right. The film never lingers for too long at any stage of Cage’s development with his ever increasing ability and progress to defeating the aliens rising at a consistent and steady pace.
Overall a very good film. A very good Sci-Fi. It’s a shame it was such a box office bomb. Sci-Fi needs more Edge of Tomorrows.