Next month's flashy sci-fi thriller, Edge of Tomorrow stars Tom Cruise alongside Emily Blunt (Looper), and was directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith). These names are certainly helping to sell the movie - in combination with the film's sizable marketing push, which has drawn mostly positive and/or enthusiastic responses (as far as the geek crowd goes, anyway); yet, for the past few weeks, there have been multiple reports circulating, assuring that Cruise's latest action vehicle is on track for a relatively soft opening at the box office.
Warner Bros. and the headliners for Edge of Tomorrow - estimated to have cost upwards of $175 million to make - will be doing their best to make sure the film doesn't wind up dead on arrival (financially-speaking), by working the press circuit up until the movie hits theaters in a couple weeks. It looks as though they'll be getting some help from professional film critics, judging by the first waves of reviews to hit the 'Net - now that the embargo on published reactions to the film has been lifted.
Edge of Tomorrow was scripted by Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher), as well as Jez and John-Henry Butterworth (Fair Game), and is based on the illustrated novel All You Need Is Kill, written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. The film takes place in a futuristic world, where humanity is battling an invading extraterrestrial army; Cruise stars as Bill Cage (Cruise), a military PR man who has little combat experience, but ends up being forced to serve in the human army.
Cage is quickly killed in battle - only to wake up still alive, discovering that he's caught in a time loop, which allows him to relive the day of his death, over and over. Cage then joins forces with Rita Vrataski (Blunt) - a far more experienced warrior who's also caught in the same time loop - in a last-ditch effort to defeat the alien enemy.
The similarities between the Edge of Tomorrow premise and such famous movie titles as Groundhog Day/Starship Troopers/etc., have already been pointed out during the film's pre-release, ad infinitum. While that practice continues with the film's reviews, the comparisons have so far been by and large complimentary in nature. Case in point:
Justin Chang, Variety
“Groundhog Day” and “Starship Troopers” make surprisingly compatible bedfellows in “Edge of Tomorrow,” a cleverly crafted and propulsively executed sci-fi thriller... [This] enjoyably gimmicky entertainment is not only one of Cruise’s better recent efforts, it’s also arguably the most purely pleasurable film Doug Liman has directed in the 12 years since “The Bourne Identity.”
Germain Lussier, /Film
['Edge of Tomorrow'] takes sci-fi elements from The Matrix, Aliens, Starship Troopers, manga and more, and wraps them all up in a rewarding time travel conceit right out of Groundhog Day. Next, it builds upon that construct in a way we’ve never seen, managing to entertain with humor, action and suspense. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt both bring a grounded, confident charisma to their roles. and Liman’s direction mixes the biggest scope imaginable with beautiful, quiet, intimate moments. The film is almost amazing.
Mark Adams, Screen Daily
The Tom Cruise affinity with sci-fi action films shows no sign of abating and he is in playfully good form in Doug Liman’s engagingly freewheeling futuristic romp that is essentially a coming together of Groundhog Day and Aliens. It is big, bold and breezy entertainment that moves at a cracking pace [and] offers plenty of fun to balance the sci-fi excesses...
Directed by Doug Liman, Edge of Tomorrow plays like a futuristic mash-up of Saving Private Ryan, Aliens and Groundhog Day... Edge of Tomorrow is easily Liman's best work since Bourne, while Tom Cruise hasn't been this much fun to watch in years.
Scott Mendelson, Forbes
Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow is a delightfully entertaining and amusing romp under the guise of a very serious science-fiction action epic... While the film initially flirts with playing the same scenes over and over again with only slight deviation (which was my issue with Source Code), Edge of Tomorrow eventually expands its sandbox.
Cruise, in particular, has been earning top marks for his performance, with some critics saying that the actor manages to break new ground, in terms of the character roles he typically occupies - like this one:
Kristy Puchko, Cinemablend
When I think of the Tom Cruise action hero, I think: unflappable, fearless, dashing. In Edge of Tomorrow, Cruise jettisons these traits from the film's first scene, and it makes for an action movie that is not only freshly enthralling, but also could usher in a new stage of his career... Edge of Tomorrow is magnificent.
No one seems to outright hate Edge of Tomorrow so far; though, of course, there are a couple of reviewers who seem less entranced by the film than the others. Some of the complaints so far point to the execution (on a directorial level) being flawed, while other suggest that the (mis)casting of Cruise - despite his committed performance - is one of the film's biggest problems:
Stefan Pape, HeyUGuys
It may have been done before (let’s not forget Source Code, too), but it still makes for such unashamedly entertaining cinema... However when the tone shifts to becoming more sincere, with immensely dramatic implications, the film suffers accordingly... The performances are illuminating, and Cruise, as expected, shows off his credentials as one of Hollywood’s most dependable leading men... That being said, his intrinsic star quality works against him too...
Todd McCarthy, THR
Although the humor helps, the Groundhog Day-like repetition gets tedious; it makes you feel more like a hamster than a groundhog — or rather a hamster's wheel, going round and round, over and over again... The effects are exciting, convincing and gritty... Cruise's self-deprecation plays well, a good thing in that he's really too old for this role...
Overall, though, even the more negative reviews suggest that Edge of Tomorrow still manages to serve up a decent amount of exhilarating summer popcorn movie fun.
At this point, though, it remains to be seen whether this positive early buzz will help to lift the film above the financial performances of Cruise's most recent action vehicles (Jack Reacher, Oblivion) - both of which were moderate box office successes, but also had the perk of costing a fair amount less to produce than Edge of Tomorrow did. Failing that, though, at least it sounds as though we've got another kick-ass Cruise vehicle to look forward to.
Edge of Tomorrow opens in U.S. theaters on June 6th, 2014 - look for Screen Rant's official review of the film, when it does!