Edge of Tomorrow

By Christopher Redmond

Mailed on June 06, 2014

Stamp image Priority
StarStarStarStarHalf Star

Dear Martin Turk
Physical Trainer

Dear Martin,

I'm ashamed to admit this, but I haven't worked out since I was 15 years old. I've always said I'd rather exercise my mind than my body (watching 500 films in a year is a workout, right?). One thing I do know, however, is that repetition is the key. Short reps with heavy weights are used to build Tom Cruise-like mass, while long reps with low weights are intended to give you Emily Blunt-like tone. You were probably giving this type of advice to the stars in your sleep though, right? Well you should charge more, because adhering that simple routine is why _Edge of Tomorrow _works out so well.

Yes, this is a film that uses the same principles as a fitness class to get the audience's blood pumping. It starts off blasting some loud music in the form of news reports about an alien invasion that has conquered most of Europe. Then we do some light stretches of Tom Cruise as a military spokesperson on a media tour, recruiting soldiers for the international army. Moments later, a fitness instructor like you (in this case, Brendan Gleeson as a comically overweight army General) comes in and starts picking on the pretty boy, telling him to stop prancing around and start pulling his weight. When the prancer refuses, instead of just revoking his membership, the instructor sends him to fat camp where he clearly doesn't fit in (because, you know, he's Tom Cruise). From there he's forced to do the same gruelling exercise all day, every day, until he finally reaches his fighting weight.

Wait. I know what you're thinking - "you're using the wrong metaphor! The repetition in this movie is based on a video game, not a gym class!" Oh Martin. I thought you were smarter than that.

First of all, Edge of Tomorrow is not based on "a" video game - it's based on all video games. Second, it actually comes from a novel called All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakuraka, which might be why it avoids the Uwe Boll curse (where all video game movie adaptations are necessarily dreadful). Though to be honest, even this film comes a bit close with its awkward and contrived set-up. But once we kick into the huge scale army invasion sequence (about 20 minutes in), the going gets good, and the good gets great.

As strange as it was to see Cruise initially as an incompetent noob on the battlefield, Doug Liman's direction does an incredible job of transporting us into his head space by simulating a modern D-Day solider drop. The point-of-view perspective in the plane as the floor opens turns us into a fellow super-solider dangling in a robotic exoSuit. By maintaining a digestible average shot length (don't rush your reps, man), we're also able to take in the action and anticipate the fast-paced alien dangers. In fact, that's the film's biggest advantage over other action movies - seeing the same moments repeated actually creates a thrilling and comical element of surprise with each new consequence. The explanation for this severe case of deja-killed is also satisfactory (by sci-fi standards), which allows us to enjoy the exercise even more as we became more coordinated with the film's goals and intentions.

So congrats. I actually broke a sweat during this film, had some laughs, felt some pain, and I want to come back for more. How could I not, when it's the most fun I've had at the movies all summer?

Feeling the burn,


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