By Craig Singleton (Wigan, England)


The most ambitious action sci-fi film that’s not part of an already existing franchise since 2012’s Looper which also starred the talented Emily Blunt came out to mostly great reviews, however only making around $94 million domestically means it’s a financial disappointment and unlikely that there will be a sequel. The reason people didn’t go and pay to see this film is that the marketing campaign in America was regarded as terrible and also it just looked like another pointless action film so most people weren’t interested. It’s a shame as it becomes another Tom Cruise film in the last five years to not break the $100 million mark.

The future-set story adapted from the book and former title name All you Need is Kill sees Major William Cage (Cruise) involuntary sent to the front line in the fight against aliens who have invaded Earth. He tries to talk his way out of it, but is described as an imposter so is put into a giant armored, metal suit loaded with big guns and has to kill or be killed. When trying to survive he comes across Emily Blunt’s character, Sergeant Rita Vrataski. Nicknamed brilliantly the ‘Full Metal Bitch’ she is highly trained in combat. As Cage sees her for the first time, she gets killed.

Not long after, William himself is killed. However, the alien being’s blood that is destroyed along with him in an explosion splats onto William’s face. In the next shot, Cage wakes up at the previous day and the exact same things that happened before happen again. He dies again, and again. In one effort, Rita tells William to come find her when he wakes up so as the film progresses the pair try to help each other to survive and encounter dangerous obstacles along the way.

The time is basically set on a loop so if William gets killed thirty times, he will wake up again the day before at the exact same time. It’s Groundhog Day meets Source Code as a tightly gripped script is put into action and it becomes a very entertaining experience that is made all the better when seeing it on a big screen. William hasn’t engaged in war before so he is scared and under-prepared. As you see him die time after time, he remembers what happens more each time. His reactions become quicker and he loses the fear he had before.

The visual effects needed to be great for which the film so heavily depends on and they do project very well. The many explosions within the battle scenes look as real as they can get and the action was very well shot that other directors should take note. Doug Liman didn’t use fast cuts or rely on slow motion effects too much to wow the viewer. He lets the shot hold on for a longer time so that even though it is fast paced, it is easier for the eyes to keep up with. Liman did a great job and seemed to have got a great understanding with the cast as the acting markers were brilliantly placed to create the realness in the time loop.

Cruise and Blunt were a fantastic pairing as seen not just in the action scenes, but also the scenes where the dialogue was all that mattered. It became quite a quotable film as there were a lot of memorable, witty lines exchanged between the characters. That’s a great move for the film as it doesn’t try to keep it a serious tone all the way through. Nearly all of the humor pays off. There’s one scene for instance when there is a shot of William running on the beach. It’s all set up for him to kill as the motion is slowed down, a loud intense score blasts in expectation for him to destroy the aliens then he gets run over by a military vehicle. It’s the physical humor that comes with the great lines that makes it a different experience and it doesn’t just become a typical action flick.

My score for the film is 85%. Lowest mark for plot, highest for entertainment. High energy, great performances and a well thought out concept that is interesting to see makes it a surprise hit. Cruise highlights again how he may become one of the best action stars of the last twenty years with him not taking the easy route to let a stunt double to the set pieces and always physically and mentally challenging himself to great heights.

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