TR Review: Tom Cruise's Life Is a Hard NES Game in Edge of Tomorrow

By Luke Y. Thompson in Books, Movies
Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm

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Ironically, when the unlimited lives eventually run out and Cage is (knowingly) on his last one, the suspense dissipates, rather than amping up as it should. Instead of wondering how he'll die next, all we can think is "Tom Cruise won't die any time before the very last scene, if indeed he must die at all." So it makes things from then on feel more like obligatory steps than hurdles to overcome, somehow.

While my colleague Amy Nicholson recently wrote an article to the effect that Cruise no longer makes interesting choices, I have to say I'm happy he uses his star clout to make character-based sci-fi movies (I'm happy Will Smith does too, even if nobody else liked After Earth). A cynic could see it differently. It's none too hard to look at a movie in which Cruise is playing an eternally recurring soul, using the power of his mind and memory of his past life to expand his capacity as a human being, unlocking his full potential after endless cycles of repetitive exercises, and think, "Hmmmm...this reminds me of something."

Likewise, a cynic could complain about the gender-switch involving Rita's mechanic, who was female in the book and Noah Taylor in the movie. Did director Doug Liman feel that one strong woman was enough? (There is a secondary female soldier character, but she is given nothing to do). Rita is a great character who kicks ass but isn't defined by ass-kicking, shown as superior to Cage in pretty much every way save for his time-jumping. And Bill Paxton's pretty damn funny as the Sergeant - it's like Hudson grew up and grew a pair, but kept a sense of humor about his past self.

These, however, are all things you think about after the movie - it's propulsive enough that you really don't care during, and pretty much the definition of a popcorn flick. Unlike many of the year's big-bang movies so far, it probably won't linger long in the memory. But then, not being any part of a larger franchise, it doesn't need to.


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