Reviewed by: Freekz80 (Blake Mickatavage)
Disclaimer: I did not read the novel “All You Need Is Kill” prior to experiencing this film!
Do you enjoy brutal sci-fi action, alien invasions, and temporal mind-fuckery? How about Tom Cruise playing somebody other than Tom Cruise?! This just may be the summer film for you!
Tom Cruise plays Major William Cage, an officer of the United Defense Force, a coalition of human nations united against the alien Mimics. Stripped of his rank and sent to partake in the first wave deployed to the beaches of France, Cage soon learns that the Mimics anticipated the attack, and easily crush the human forces. Somehow, with minimal combat experience, Cage manages to kill a large Mimic during the chaos, but dies in the process after being doused with its blood. However, Cage awakens after death exactly where he awoke the day before the invasion, and following the initial confusion loops several times attempting to save lives during the beach invasion. His skills improve as he repeatedly lives this battle, but after saving the life of the “Angel of Verdun” on the battlefield, he soon learns that he must accept a much more difficult challenge if he wishes to change the tide of the war.
For starters, I feel that this is a very different Tom Cruise movie. Cruise’s character is continuously developed throughout the film, evolving from a typical arrogant officer with zero combat experience to a battle-hardened soldier desensitized to death and destruction. We’ve all become used to the typical Cruise character; a walking brick wall with corny one-liners (Jack Reacher and Mission Impossible, for example) and this film was a fantastic change of pace.
In addition, the story was surprisingly interesting. In the trailers, not much was spoiled about the Mimics, and thus I was really interested to discover and learn more about what exactly this enemy was. The first battle sequence unveiled mysterious, almost mechanical and ethereal appearing beings, absolutely slaughtering their human counterparts. This presented a huge challenge ahead of Cage, and it was intriguing to observe the development of his skills and character. The use of time alteration to portray this is quite unique and also allows for some effective humor to be thrown in without spoiling the primary message of the film.
What doesn’t work:
I honestly don’t feel that there was anything that really ruined this movie for me. That being said, some of the plot elements were a bit cliché. For example, Emily Blunt’s character, the “Angel of Verdun”, is a tough-as-nails warrior that has become incredibly desensitized to emotion after her very own time-looping experiences in Verdun. She meets with Cage and agrees to train and assist him, and of course, from this develops an expected romance sub-plot that I didn’t feel added anything to the film. I suppose the message here may be that even after experiencing death and loss countless times, Cage can still find passion within, but it didn’t feel important or unique enough that it actually impacted Cage’s primary objective.
While not a perfect sci-fi blockbuster, this film still delivers and I felt it was definitely worth viewing in theaters. I was initially skeptical about another Tom Cruise action movie, but this experience was very refreshing and has given me a nice boost of confidence in one of the most well-known actors of our time. A well deserved 8 out of 10.