Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow Blu-ray ReviewOctober 7, 2014
Tom Cruise’s latest action vehicle, Edge of Tomorrow (based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel All You Need Is Kill), was almost universally praised by critics upon its theatrical release. With a smart script, a solid director (The Bourne Identity’s Doug Liman) and enthusiastic performances by its two lead actors, it deserved such acclaim.
Unfortunately, it didn’t do as well as Warner Bros. would have liked at the box office, and as such the marketing department has decided to completely rebrand the film as Live Die Repeat, which was Edge of Tomorrow’s tagline. So now we have Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow making its way to home video, probably to the confusion of many. While the film may not have blown up the box office, it did get a lot of very positive word of mouth, which is now a bit useless as all consumers will see on the Blu-ray/ DVD box art is the gigantic words LIVE DIE REPEAT, with the original title shoehorned in tiny letters underneath. It should be quite interesting to see how this affects sales.
At the outset of Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow, we’re given a bit of insight into the back story through a series of quick news reports. In the near future, aliens invade Earth, conquering every bit of human resistance that has been thrown against them. The aliens are dubbed “Mimics” due to their ability to seemingly know every move their enemy is going to make before they even attempt it. The utter destruction caused by the invading forces over the course of the past five years has led to all the world’s nations aligning, creating the United Defense Force, of UDF. Humanity has been getting utterly annihilated by the aliens, until the Battle of Verdun sees the first real victory for mankind. Now the UDF is preparing for Project Downfall, a final push against the Mimics to finally seize victory.
Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow offers one of Tom Cruise’s best performances in recent years. He has quite a bit of fun turning his action hero persona on its head, as when we first meet Major William Cage, he’s a complete coward. Cage is the pompous face of the U.S. military’s media relations, who has been tasked by UDF General Bingham (Brendan Gleeson) with joining the first wave of soldiers on the beaches of France during Project Downfall, to get a first-hand account of the victory and boost morale. Major Cage doesn’t take the news well, trying his damnedest to talk his way out of seeing combat – even threatening Bingham with blackmail. This doesn’t work out too well for Cage, as he’s arrested and charged with desertion. He’s then handed over to the military – suiting up in an ExoSuit and joining the invading forces despite never having seen a day of combat in his life.
Major Cage is ridiculed by his fellow soldiers, before quickly meeting his demise on the battlefield within the film’s first 10 minutes. This is where the film gets interesting. Much like in a video game, Cage instantly “respawns” – waking up at the military camp just before Project Downfall. As the plot will soon explain, Cage is now in a time loop – when he is killed, the day resets, with Cage retaining the knowledge of what went down on his previous attempt. Though Major Cage begins the film as a complete combat novice, he quickly gains experience, and is able to anticipate the Mimics’ offenses using their own power against them. He soon seeks out the help of Rita Vrataski (a very buff Emily Blunt), who once had this power herself but lost it. Rita trains Cage so that the two of them can together take down the Mimics once and for all.
Director Doug Liman does a fantastic job shooting and editing Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow, as the repetitive nature of the plot could have been grating in less capable hands, but is turned into sci-fi gold here. The first few times Cage “resets”, we go through the experience with him, memorizing the major events taking place and anticipating them in the next reset. After about the third reset, however, the film is continuously moving forward, with the audience unaware as to whether Cruise’s character has already lived through this current event or not. Cage isn’t psychic, he needs to have seen the events first-hand to anticipate them, which created an interesting dynamic to the storyline. Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise have great chemistry throughout, and Blunt is quite believable as a badass babe by the end – her giant anime-inspired sword is awesome! Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow packs a surprising amount of humor as well, without making it too silly or over-the-top. The action sequences are fantastic, and the CGI is well-implemented.
Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow’s audiovisual presentation is hard to beat, with reference quality video and audio. The Blu-ray has a decent selection of special features, as well. These take a look at everything from the making of the film, to the exo suit, to the alien creatures, and the design of the costumes and sets. “On The Edge With Doug Liman” is the meatiest of these extras, as a 43-minute retrospective on the entire film’s development.
In short, Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow is easily one of the summer’s most clever, fun, and exciting blockbusters. The film transfer is reference quality, with sharp, detailed visuals and a crystal clear soundtrack. There’s plenty of behind-the-scenes featurettes and deleted scenes for those interested in the process of filmmaking. If you missed it in the theater, now’s your chance to see what’s so special about Tom Cruise’s latest action flick. And I have to ask, how did no one think to make this into a video game?