Same ole’ Cruise in “The Edge of Tomorrow”

There are some actors whose movies I will not go to see because their personal antics nauseate me. Alec Baldwin and Gwyneth Paltrow come to mind.

Tom Cruise should probably be in that category of actor for me, but for some reason he’s not. He may be weird in his personal life, but in his films you know what to expect. No matter how old he gets, he has the charm of his youth and the same boyish grin.

His performance in his new vehicle, “Edge of Tomorrow”, will not surprise anyone. It is the same old Tom Cruise shtick. The flick is “Maverick” meets Ethan Hunt.

Cruise per usual is the rebel with a cause. For the second time in his career (that I am aware of), he tries to save the world from aliens. (See “War of the Worlds.)

Tom (or his stunt double) subjects his body to impossible gyrations that only cartoon characters could survive. It does help that he is wearing body armor.

What makes this particular Cruise character different is that he is a reluctant warrior. Lt.  Colonel Bill Cage is not a soldier. He’s a press officer.

Cage gets into trouble with his commanding officer (who Cage actually doesn’t know is his commanding officer) by refusing to be part of the first wave of an invasion against the aliens. His new boss wants him to film the heroics, but Bill demurs.

What is set in motion could best be described as “Groundhog Day” on steroids, except Cruise is Bill Murray and Emily Blunt takes on the role Andie MacDowell performed so well in that wonderful film. In fact, the entire movie has an ambience which makes the viewer say ”I’ve seen this before.”

For example, the task of the invasion armada, composed of soldiers in those aforementioned armor suits, is to invade occupied France. Thus, it’s appropriate that “Edge of Tomorrow” was released on the anniversary of D-Day.

Why, when Cage is in the office of General Brigham in London, the man who wants to deploy him into harms way, the mind thinks of Eisenhower. The general actually bears more of a resemblance to Desert Storm commander Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf  and acts like George Patton.

The audience may recognize the aliens stringy limbs since they were also present in the “War of the Worlds”.  “Star Trek” fans may also notice the borg-like connection of the aliens to a primary host.The invaders are lizard-like and appropriately disgusting. (Indeed, it seems to be the spring of the reptile, what with the popularity of the 100th “Godzilla” remake.)

I have a sneaking suspicion, however, that somebody who had input into the story knows about author Harry Turtledove and his creation, the Race. These are creatures who invade the world in the middle of World War II.

The earthlings that fight the Race begin to call them Lizards due to their appearance. Hmmm. Reptiles? Earth invaded? World War II? I only did a cursory search, but I didn’t see Turtledove getting any credit as an adviser to the film.

Oh, I almost forgot!  There’s a time travel element. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

Even the movie’s title activated my schema. Wasn’t there a soap opera by that name? Oh, right. That was the “Edge of Night”.

But, you know what, I don’t go to Tom Cruise films expecting a deep story. I also don’t expect much in terms of character development, and “Edge of Tomorrow” delivers, given the redundancy inherent “Groundhog Day”-type plot and the almost B-nature quality of the film. There is SOME roundness in the main characters, Cage and Blunt’s heroic female soldier Rita.

Even though it isn’t much of a movie, the film has the requisite number of explosions, gritty humans and scary beasts, although in this day of computer animation they are getting less and less frightening. In that respect, “Edge of Tomorrow” gave me what I was looking for: mindless entertainment on a Friday afternoon.Image

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