on 26 May 2015
Live Die Repeat is a stylish sci-fi which handles its subject matter remarkably well without over complicating the story. In the vein of source code a reluctant soldier, played by Tom Cruise, is forced to relive a day in ferocious battle over and over again until he discovers a way of breaking this eternal loop.
It could have been messy. It could have been all over the place but actually it is a really well crafted movie. Effortlessly replaying the early scenes in such a way that they don't get boring or repetitive. In fact it uses these scenes to mine some unexpected humour from the situation again preventing this from being another dour depressing science fiction movie.
Emily Blunt is on fine form as a soldier who recently suffered the same fate as Cruise but lost her "power". She is ballsy and gutsy and gives the film a real bite. Meanwhile Cruise finds a comic touch to go with his normal action bravado. He is only outdone by an impeccable but small turn from Bill Paxton.
The action is great fun with an alien race that at least feels a bit different to the norm. The are almost unstoppable. The main action scene which is relived and kicks off the story is brutally grounded with an almost Saving Private Ryan feel to it. The scene is wonderfully played out with many different things going on and it is fun to see different strands of this battle played out in different ways the more Cruise's character remembers how it goes.
The effects are nothing notably special but are as good as any other blockbuster you will see but it is in the characters that Live Die Repeat really excels. This is a story grounded by its leading couple. It deftly avoids most clichés and lets you really invest in these characters. This has to be one of Cruise's better roles of late and is certainly one of Blunt's most fun.
The next natural step from the likes of Source Code and another gold star in the currently fashionable time travelling/twisting stories out there at the moment. Doug Liman is often underrated as the director who kick started the Bourne series. If there is any justice he will be rightly lauded for this fun sci-fi romp.
"Edge of Tomorrow" is a Westernised but otherwise reasonably faithful version of Hiroshi Sakurazaka's novel "All You Need Is Kill" and it is one of the cleverest SF films I have seen for a while.
This review is based on watching the film at home twice on DVD - and it is one of those films where you pick up things on the second watching which you miss first time round.
Anyone who has heard of this film will almost certainly already be aware that it involves a battle against apparently unstoppable alien invaders, and that the characters played by Tom Cruise (Major Bill Cage) and Emily Blunt (Sergeant Rita Vrataski) keep getting killed, but are caught in a time loop.
Each time Cage is killed he gets sent back to the start, but remembers what happened before, so he has the opportunity to learn how to fight more effectively and try to find new ways to defeat the alien invaders. Hence the slogan on the DVD box, "Live, Die, Repeat" which is also, as in this listing, sometimes incorporated into the title.
At the start of the film, Cage is not a very admirable character - though he holds the rank of Major he has never been near a battlefield and is basically a Spin Doctor in uniform.
(This is the main difference between the film and the book, in which the alien invasion had taken place in the Far East and the central character of the book was a Japanese raw recruit. In the film the aliens have invaded and largely conquered the European mainland. The Americans are heavily involved in the war in both the book and film, and the character of Rita is an American in the book.
Humanity has been taking a serious beating in the war against the invaders. One of Cage's achievements has been to publicise mankind's one victory, at Verdun, so as to persuade potential recruits to sign up. As part of that campaign the most effective soldier from that battle, Special Forces Sergeant Rita Vrataski, was depicted as the "Angel of Verdun" (although her fellow soldiers have an earthier nickname for her.) Cage was not expecting ever to find himself on a battlefield with Rita.
But for reasons we will not go into to avoid a spoiler, Cage does find himself in battle, where at first he is very ineffective. He is astonished when after the first time he is killed he wakes up again the previous morning. And whatever he tries to do, he keeps getting killed and waking up again at the same point the morning before the battle. Usually when he is killed he learns something from the events which caused his death and sometimes he can use that knowledge to avoid repeating a mistake or being where something nasty lands, thus living a little longer.
Then on the battlefield Cage meets Rita, who notices his ability to predict where shells, flying debris, and aliens will come from, and she tells him "Come find me when you wake up." When he does, she is almost the only person who believes any of his story, and she trains him to learn how to defeat the alien invaders. (By the way, this paragraph is not a spoiler as "LIVE - DIE - REPEAT" is plastered in two inch high letters on the DVD case and both the line I've quoted and the information that Rita trains Cage are in the trailer.)
One particularly challenging aspect for the film to show, which was generally well acted and presented, is the way Tom Cruise's character who can remember each successive iteration of the day they are living through, grows and develops through the film, while Emily Blunt's character does not retain the memories and is exactly the same at the start of each new iteration of the same day. I won't go through all the implications to avoid spoilers but the film explores several of them.
Another aspect where it must have been incredibly difficult to get the balance right, but which IMHO the film does brilliantly, is to show just enough of each repeated iteration that the viewer understands what is going on, without going through so much of each repeated day as to bore the viewer to death.
There are a fair number of plot holes and impossibilities in the film, but my experience was that quality of the acting and the well-paced and exciting story meant that I din't notice them until stopping to think about it after watching the DVD.
Special effects are very effective, from the alien monsters to the "exoskeleton" like combat suits which the human soldiers wear. But many of the stunts were real - Emily Blunt said on television that she "nearly killed Tom Cruise for real" while filming one of the action scenes.
This DVD has a reasonable number of extras, mostly about the creation of the film.
The film made me want to read the original book (see link above) which I can also recommend.
If you love pulling things to pieces and watch this determined to find something wrong, you will find things to criticise, but most people who like action films will enjoy "Edge of Tomorrow."
This is a science fiction/war/action movie which is a reasonably faithful adaptation of the novel All You Need Is Kill albeit it with name changes.
It's a complete and self contained film and not the start of any series of trilogy.
The film starts with a quick expositional montage, showing the start of an alien invasion of Earth, and the fighting that followed.
Then we meet Major William Cage [Tom Cruise]. On the eve of a major human offensive on alien occupied territory, he's been doing great PR work highlighting the efforts of soldiers who use hi-tech battlesuits, in particular tough lady warrior Rita Vrataski [Emily Blunt].
Cage isn't keen on the prospect of joining the fighting. But he finds himself forced into it. And promptly dies in his first battle.
Only to reborn, right back at the moment when he found himself forced to fight.
Stuck in a time loop, dying again and again, desperate to find out why, his only hope might lie with Rita. And the only hope for the future of the Planet Earth might lie with both of them....
Yes, it's groundhog day. With aliens. But beyond that one similarity, this film has more than enough individual touches to make it worth the five star rating.
A very good performance from Tom Cruise. Who convincingly portrays a man who grows and changes as a result of all he experiences.
A very good performance from Emily Blunt, convincing as a tough lady soldier.
The acting plaudits don't stop there. Bill Paxton threatens to steal the show as a tough and sardonic Sergeant. The actors playing the rest of his squad don't get much screen time by comparison to the major players, but they do enough to make their characters fully rounded and make you want to see more of them.
The directing is superb, with the early invasion sequences and the resulting battle being visually stunning.
There's an excellent amount of very good humour.
And the plot has enough twists and turns to keep moving things on to the next level when required, and to keep surprising the viewer as well.
Plus it Has some excellent location work in London.
This is an entertaining blockbuster. It's a hugely entertaining movie experience, and it's well worth five stars.
The disc has the following language and subtitle options:
Languages: English, Castilian Spanish, Hindu.
Subtitles: English, Castilian Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish.
It begins with no trailers at all, jumping straight to the main menu when loaded up.
Just two featurettes.
Weapons of the future: All about the armour and the weaponry of the movie. This runs for eight minutes.
Creatures not of this world: All about the aliens and how they were brought to life. This runs for five minutes.
The former is very good and worth a watch. Although epileptics beware a sequence of flashing images during it.
The latter is quite good but a bit too short to make an impression.
on 9 July 2014
Since 2002's The Bourne Identity, Doug Liman has established himself as a fairly competent action director, however poor scripts and production problems have often mired the quality of his blockbuster films. The aforementioned Bourne film was wrought with production issues, though ultimately salvaged by extensive reshoots, while Mr and Mrs Smith crumbled under the weight of its own star-power. And though Jumper featured some promising but pulpy sci-fi ideas, it unfortunately took them nowhere with a typically underwhelming David Goyer script (ie. piss poor dialogue and characters).
Liman's blockbuster films may pop on screen but they merely fizzle away on the page and from the outset the unfortunately titled Edge of Tomorrow (sounding more like an American soap opera than a sci-fi war film) looked typical of the director's oeuvre. The explosive Saving Private Ryan meets The Matrix aesthetic of the trailer engaged, while the already-done sci-fi take on Groundhog Day set up hung over the film like a damp rag. But with Edge of Tomorrow Liman has delivered where so many have failed, by bringing smart filmmaking to a simple story and refusing to neglect a sense of fun.
Based on the novel `All You Need is Kill' by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Edge of Tomorrow begins amidst a world at war against a race of alien creatures that have overtaken Europe. They're known as `mimics' due to their ability to predict their opponents every move. Refreshingly Liman avoids covering the initial invasion almost entirely, introducing us to the situation through use of interviews and news footage. We're informed that humanity has begun to fight back and win in their war against these tentacled mechanical monsters. This is thanks in no small part to seasoned warriors such as Emily Blunt's Rita (or `Full Metal Bitch' as the propaganda posters call her) who has tallied more confirmed kills than any other soldier. During this montage Liman introduces Tom Cruise's Cage as the media face of the military, who is seen beckoning young Americans to war with the promise (and grandeur) of a sure victory. Before the title sequence is over the players and world has been effectively set up. It's efficient, to the point and allows for cutting straight to the meat and potatoes of the story.
After the attempted blackmail of a senior officer, Cage's cowardice lands him in trouble and with a first class ticket to the front-line. Out of his depth on a battlefield that is increasingly looking like a well-planned trap and surrounded by hardened grunts that are counting down the remaining the seconds of his life, Cage stumbles from one action-beat to the next until meeting his inevitable demise. But by a twist of fate Cage is forced to relive the day over and over again, meeting his end in a whole manner of violent, shocking and often funny ways. That is until he meets Emily Blunt's Rita, who holds information that may help Cage both break the cycle and end the war for good.
Unlike Duncan Jone's Source Code (that other Groundhog-Day science fiction picture) there is no thriller style mystery to unravel in Liman's film. Starting from a similar platform, Edge of Tomorrow instead takes inspiration from Paul Verhoeven's Starship Trooper and James Cameron's Aliens, both in story and character (and not to mention an actor in Bill Paxton). Much like with those sci-fi classics, the marines here are all action and little thought military clichés, running gung-ho to their own slaughter at the hands of an enemy they've vastly underestimated. But whereas Starship Troopers has the dumb but strong Rico and Aliens' the overlooked but brave Ellen Ripley at their centres, Edge of Tomorrow's Cage is the coward who'd rather sit this one out, forced into action only when the inescapability of his situation becomes starkly apparent.
It is easy to hate such a yellow-bellied individual as Cage, and the film practically asks us to early on. He's cowardly, uncaring and knowingly admits to sending thousands of young soldiers to their deaths through his own propaganda tactics. By making him dislikeable, his many demises become an effective focus for comedy. But Cruise imbues Cage with just enough charm that one finds them self endeared to him as he grows. It helps that he has the always-dependable Blunt to bounce off in many of his scenes, providing the film with a couple of fleeting but decent emotional beats. Blunt's Rita is the core of the film; she gets the best lines, the best action and is easily the most likeable character on display. Her performance in Edge of Tomorrow had me asking the question, when will Emily Blunt become the blockbuster star she's been threatening to for years?
Despite a few ham-handed scenes of exposition, Edge of Tomorrow succeeds because Liman and his writing team (Christopher McQuarrie and Jez & John-Henry Butterworth) have focused their efforts on telling a simple story in the most engaging way possible, centring on timing and structure to deliver effective action, comedy and character beats. There's a great deal of knowing restraint on display from Liman, allowing for the same battlefield to feel fresh an hour in to the film despite us having witnessed the action a countless number of times. But for their attention to structure, Edge of Tomorrow's greatest attribute is instead its playful tone. In another filmmakers hands it would have been a grim-dark slog through murky battlefields with tortured souls as our guide. Instead it's a well-structured and fast moving roller coaster ride replete with action thrills and more than a few hearty laughs.
on 28 October 2014
An alien race has hit the Earth and has destroyed most of Europe. It appears that they are unbeatable by any military unit in the world.
Major William Cage is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously dropped into what appears to be a suicide mission. Killed within minutes, Cage now finds himself thrown into a time loop, forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again.
But with each battle, Cage becomes able to attack the aliens with increasing skill, alongside Rita Vrataski.
And, as Cage and Vrataski take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy, and closer to each other.....
After seeing this movie, its easy to see why this failed to set the box offence alight. It's not based on a popular comic book hero, it's not part of a franchise, it's not a young adult book, and its source material is highly original and pretty complex, so it's not your usual summer fare.
But blimey, its so refreshing to see something so original, so funny, and so involving have such a prolific release and treated with the respect it needs, and also respecting the audience.
Cruise hasn't been this good in years, here he's not playing the typical hero he has done forever, in fact, until the middle of the second act, he's a bit of a wimp who tries to talk his way out of everything.
But then we go back to the point where he wakes up, and for a good 30 minutes, it's hilarious, laugh out loud funny at times, and Cages frustration very time he knows he's going to buy it, is just priceless.
The second act is the strongest part of the film, and even though it does feel like its riffing on Groundhog Day, and Source Code,mother way its handles is very different and intricate to the narrative.
Blunt is okay, but her hard woman does grate toward the end of the film, and Cruises grin in the last shot is priceless, as if he's thinking 'just one more time'.
Its a brilliant movie, worth watching more than once, my only gripe is that Cage didn't smack the soldier who kept waking him up.
There’s nothing new in the central premise of this superb movie; science fiction has been messing about with time loops for decades. It’s been the stock-in-trade for some of the best Star Trek episodes, there have been some excellent recent films such as Memento & Source Code and Greg Bear’s splendid ‘Hull Zero Three’ gives the live, die, repeat theme an original twist. So, what makes this big budget 175 million dollar blockbuster stand out from the crowd? Lots of things, that’s what.
Firstly, this is the first sci-fi film I can think of where Tom Cruise isn’t an indomitable action hero from the first scene; here he’s an Army PR man (looking alarmingly like Pierce Brosnan) doing all he can to wheedle out of his surprise assignment to the imminent conflict zone. This refreshing lightly comedic, self deprecating tone is a consistent presence throughout the film.
Secondly, the treatment of the core concept; the countless iterations of the loop as Cruise and Blunt progress incrementally towards their goal are not presented in the ‘Oh no! Not again’ groundhog repetition format. The viewer is instead presented only with the changes to previous loops, keeping the dialogue and action fresh and, above all, engaging.
This segues nicely to the next point. Doug Liman’s direction is superb; the pace and tension are deftly managed from beginning to heart-thumping finale, just what you’d expect from the man responsible for the first three (and best) Bourne films. Finally, no review of a modern sci-fi motion picture would be complete without a passing mention of the special effects. They are superb, from the battle suit design, through the Private Ryan’esque beachhead sequences to the incredible alien masses of tentacles. I’m not quite sure why the aliens are called Mimics though; they never seem to do any, but perhaps it’s a plot device to keep the audience guessing about the nature of the main protagonists.
To summarise, this is an absolutely splendid movie and one we’ll definitely re-watch many times.
The Earth is under attack from an Alien race, our weaponry is no match for them.
Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is ordered against his will to go into combatative
service and will be dropped onto the front line of defence on the French shores.
The Major can't even stomach the sight of blood, certainly not his own, the mission
he is about to embark upon is almost certainly one in which he will be killed.
Branded as a deserter and coward he's been demoted to 'private'
On the Beaches of France the Aliens totally overwhelm Earth's attack force including
unlikely combatant William Cage, however he's been thrown into a 'Time-Loop' and
arrives back on base on the evening prior to the ill-fated attack.
This happens over and over again, he cannot make his new comrades understand
that he knows what will happen next.
On the beach he'd met celebrated 'Warrior' 'Rita Vrataski' (Emily Blunt),with the knowlede
of what had happened each time around he's able to save from certain death at that moment
Each time he returns to the beach he learns a little more and develops his skills and gradually
learn how to fight back.
Because 'Rita' also has the memories of her earlier beach encounters with the Aliens,the two
begin to form an alliance, the former Major is put through his paces by 'Rita' he has many skills
Teaching him new skills, over and over again, preparation is everything, a little knowledge
of what happens next, an advantage ???
It seems the only hope Earth has of victory may well depend upon the few.
There is some seriously enjoyable action sequences along the way as 'William' and 'Rita'
progress a little further on each re-visit.
There are also several light hearted moments that are sure to make you smile.
The film is without question an enjoyable movie experience indeed.
Great special-effects, in 3-D the action is certainly in-your-face so to speak, as the spider
like creatures are hurled toward you (great-stuff)
Great picture and sound quality throughout.
Special Features (in 2-D)
* STORMING THE BEACH - Drive into the trenches for a gritty look of creating the films
epic sci-fi batte.
* WEAPONS OF THE FUTURE - Watch Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt tackle the challenges
of strapping on exo-suits to become super soldiers.
* ON THE EDGE WITH DOUG LIMAN - Follow the passion-fueled director as he confronts
the pressure of making a futuristic war film look real.
* PLUS DELETED SCENES AND MORE
on 27 December 2015
And a chunk of “Next” thrown in.
Another pretty good turn from Tom Cruise in a Sci-Fi actioner that probably suffers only from being a bit short. The story? Tom Cruise’s character, who isn’t a warrior at the start, gets trapped in a time loop and learns painfully how to defeat the enemy.
While there’s almost nothing original in this movie, it charges along entertainingly enough through its 100-plus minutes’ running time. There are one or two nicely aggressive bits that make you jump the first time they’re played out. As with other sci-fi war movies, there’s more than a touch of the cynicism and brutality of Joe Haldeman’s brilliant “The Forever War” (try to get the version with all the sub-stories in it if you fancy reading it; I think the version in “War and Peace” is complete, but no warranty is implied by this freely offered advice!). The repeated death plot may go back to the brilliant Algis Budrys’ “Rogue Moon”, I suppose.
Tom Cruise isn’t on his absolutely best form in this; his initial smug character never quite grows into the heroic one he’s intended to be, but it’s watchable all the way through. I’ve not seen a tough Emily Blunt before, and though she does a decent job at it, I preferred her more adorable character in “The Adjustment Bureau”. However, all the cast do a sound job.
My only beef really is that it’s all a bit too fast and furious. There’s virtually no build-up, no background to talk of on the alien invaders, just a few nuggets drip-fed to us occasionally.
However, because it simply romps along, it’s more entertaining than many a sci-fi war movie.
A pretty satisfied sci-fi addict. You may think four stars a tad generous, and 3 ½ may be better, but it’s good fun, really.
on 19 July 2016
If you think this looks familiar, that’s because it is. Previously released as, simply, Edge of Tomorrow, this is another Tom Cruise Sci-fi action fest, and a pretty good one, too, fitting in nicely with Oblivion, Minority Report, War of the Worlds and, to a lesser extent, Vanilla Sky.
Say what you like about the Cruiser, he can do running, jumping, shooting and blowing stuff up with the best of them and shows no sign of slowing down. Cue the Mission Impossible theme and there’s another Jack Reacher - Never Go Back - on the way. Oh, and The Mummy is due out in June 2017.
Have to say, that our own Emily Blunt is pretty damned good at kicking ass, too, giving as good as she gets and matching our hero punch for punch.
Was going to give an idea of the plot, but does that matter? The film blurb does all that, so you don’t need me to wax lyrical. OK, if you want the quick version, how about Groundhog Day meets Aliens?
Perfect Saturday night fodder.
The good news - well, to me anyway – is that a sequel is planned, with Cruise and Blunt reprising their roles.
Here we go again, then…
on 18 August 2015
Gorundhog Day meets Starship Troopers, but don't let that put you off. This is really good. It's time-loop story in which Cage (Tom Cruise) a public relations specialist with a nominal army rank of Major gets on the wrong side of someone with influence and ends up busted to the ranks without ever having gone through basic training. That's a bit of a problem because there's a war on - a war against implacable aliens. It's a problem for our hero because he's... well... not excatly hero material and certainly not gung-ho. He bumbles his way through the first few moments of a beach landing without knowing how to take the safety off his weapon, but the aliens are overwhelming. Predictably he ends up dead... and suddenly his day resets itself. In fact every time he ends up dead he goes back to the same point in the worst day of his life, learning as he goes.
It's extremely well done, so you see enough of the repeats to get the differences and the forward steps, but not enough to get frustrated with it. Emily Blunt plays the female lead, tough super-soldier, Rita, who understands what's going on when no one else does. This is an inventive take on the Hiroshi Sakurazaka novel "All You Need Is Kill" with a certain amount of humour injected into a bleak situatiuon. The aliens are convincing. The battle scenes are delivered with sufficient verisimilitude to make them viscerally realistic. The special effects are good but they don't dominate the characterisation. (A bonus for me.)
One of the better movies of 2014