But Edge of Tomorrow is more like Source Code (2011 PG-13), the Jake Gyllenhaal action thriller in which an army specialist repeats the same terrorist train crash until he learns how to stop it. Good movie!
Edge of Tomorrow has the same premise. An army guy (Tom Cruise) wakes up every day at the same English base right before the final battle with alien invaders on the beaches of France. He dies, and repeats the same day, each time trying something a bit different to survive.
The thing is, Captain Cage is not a fighter, but an advertising man who travels to England to promote the latest fighting gear. The British commander (Brendan Gleeson) decides that Cage would be the best man to prove the merits of this fighting gear. Demoted for trying to run away, Private Cage is unceremoniously dropped into an infantry unit led by Master Sergeant Farell (Bill Paxton).
After the set up, the movie continues through three parts.
1. Fish out of water
Cage is terrified and unprepared to fight with the infantry, even in the same battle gear he promotes for a living. He doesn’t even know how to use it! Cage is forced to listen to the same speech by Master Sergeant Farell, endure the same taunts from the other soldiers, and drop into the same disastrous alien battlefield over and over. It’s fun to see Tom Cruise as an inept weakling!
2. Video game tactics
Here is the bulk of the movie. Cage realizes there is no true consequence to making a mistake, since when he gets killed, he just repeats the day again. So, he tries to figure out how to survive. Sometimes that means running away. Sometimes that means hiding. But mostly that means figuring out why the aliens always win, so that in the next life he can help destroy them.
Kinda like playing a video game! Early on he determines that Specialist Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), who has had success fighting the aliens, is the key to winning. She has to train him. Remember, he is a wimp who has many lives to become a fighting machine. And when he fails, she can just shoot him, and he can try again another day. Clever!
3. Beat the alien and survive
Cage has become the ultimate fighting machine. He has advanced through his video-game-style life to the point of advancing together through the countryside of France. Can they beat the aliens?