Hiroshi Sakurazaka's All You Need Is Kill (2004) is a Japanese sci-fi novel aimed at young adults. The star of our story is Keiji Kiriya, who recently joined the military group UDF (United Defense Force). The world is threatened by Mimics, a race of alien beings with unusual powers, superhuman speed, and an unpredictable style of attack. Keiji is killed almost instantly during his first ground invasion...but for unknown reasons, death transports him back to the day before. Essentially, he gets another chance...and then another, and another. As expected, perpetual mortality leads to growth as a soldier, and his unique perspective of the failed mission gives him a considerable advantage. He can change the future if he wants to, but it's his encounters with fellow soldier Rita Vrataski that help Keiji fully realize his potential.
Doug Liman's Edge of Tomorrow (2014) is based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka's All You Need Is Kill (2004), a Japanese sci-fi novel aimed at young adults. This unique genre hybrid follows Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) as he unexpectedly leaves his cushy officer's job to become a combat-ready UDF soldier on the battlefield. This transformation doesn't exactly happen overnight, but it happens for a good reason: the world is threatened by Mimics, a race of alien beings with unusual powers, superhuman speed, and unpredictable attack methods. Cage is killed almost instantly during his first ground invasion, as are pretty much all of his fellow soldiers...but for whatever reason, death transports him back to the day before. He's given unlimited chances to change the almost inevitable outcome but constantly fails to prevent the Mimics from wiping out humanity. It's his relationship with soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) that help Cage realize his full potential: she's lived through the same thing before but "lost the power" after a blood transfusion. In short, Cage needs to try every possible outcome---working together, working alone, recruiting new helpers, total apathy, and more---until he finds one that wins the war. But he's got to succeed or die, or
life death goes back to normal.
Doug Liman's Live, Die, Repeat (2014) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Video. It's the re-branded name of Edge of Tomorrow, a summer blockbuster that swung for the fences but didn't fully catch on at the domestic box office. This looping sci-fi production features Tom Cruise as Major William Cage, a soldier who dies in combat only to be resurrected the previous day. He finds answers from soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), who no longer has the same ability but uses her past experiences to help Cage battle the Mimics, a race of scary-ass aliens threatening humanity. They've apparently got an infinite number of chances, and this endless cycle has granted them godlike abilities in combat. But it still won't be easy, because events will eventually occur that neither of them has lived through before.
Quality Control Department
Video & Audio Quality
Not surprisingly, Warner Bros. has served up a pitch-perfect visual presentation that, given the proper setup, rivals a theatrical experience. The film's largely pale and desaturated color palette looks accurate, black levels are deep, and textures are quite strong throughout. Digital imperfections---including excessive noise reduction, edge enhancement, and compression artifacts---don't seem to be an issue at all, which should please those with sharp eyes. The film's CG effects---which are less extensive than you think---also blend quite well with the practical shots, especially the vehicular stunts and many of the battle sequences. Overall, it's a visually stunning presentation from a studio with a strong track record for new release Blu-rays, and I'd imagine that new and established fans will appreciate the effort.
DISCLAIMER: The compressed screen caps and promotional images featured in this review are resized do not represent Blu-ray's native 1080p resolution.
Likewise, the film's room-shaking audio achieves sonic perfection during the bulk of its running time. Edge of Tomorrow arrives with a default DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix that creates a consistent and compelling atmosphere...especially once the action heats up. Other moments also shine, as music cues and subtle background noises are also well-placed and effective without screaming for attention. The low frequency output deserves special mention, though: like Warner Bros.' Godzilla Blu-ray from a few weeks ago, Edge of Tomorrow digs deep and will occasionally test the limits of your subwoofer(s)...especially during a few moments in the opening sequence. Simply put, this is one fine-sounding disc that swings for the fences, and your neighbors will hate you for it. Optional Spanish, French, and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs are also included, as well as optional subtitles (in the same languages) during the film and bonus features.
Menu Design, Presentation & Packaging
Presented in Warner Bros.' typical style, this interface is lacking in creativity but easy to navigate. The forced pre-menu commercials, on the other hand, are not
appreciated. This two-disc release is housed in a dual-hubbed keepcase along with a Digital Copy redemption insert and a matching slipcover. The cover design is especially terrible (and confusing, if you saw EOT
in theaters), from the recently re-branded title to the pint-sized still frames used for decoration.
It's a few featurettes and a commentary away from a definitive disc, but what's here is of pretty good quality. The first (and least essential) extra is "The Adrenaline Cut"
(2:34), a highlight reel of the film's most exciting "ground invasion" moments. It's presented in 1080p with lossless audio, though, so perhaps it helps to make up for the lack of a trailer.
The bulk of these supplements is a collection of Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes, though most clock in under 10 minutes. "Storming the Beach" (8:59) provides a brief overview of the production, including a few glimpses of concept art and words from the cast and crew. The self-explanatory "Weapons of the Future" (8:25) and "Creatures Not of This World" (5:38) focus on the unique sci-fi tech and designing the Mimics. Finally, the much more substantial "On the Edge with Doug Liman" (42:37) offers a more substantial breakdown of the production including development in August 2012, physical training, Tom Cruise's work ethic, set design, characters, practical effects, several brief cast/crew interviews and, of course, a few rounds of tennis. Participants during these four featurettes include Doug Liman, Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, producers Erwin Stoff and Jeffrey Silver, production designer Oliver Scholl, and more.
Last but not least is a collection of Deleted Scenes (7 clips, 7:38 total), though most of them are either alternate takes, minor character moments, extended elements, or just scenes presented in rough, unfinished form. They're worth a look but, based on this material, I doubt we'll be seeing a director's cut anytime soon…not that I'm complaining.
Action-packed, thought-provoking, suspenseful, and surprisingly funny, Doug Liman's Edge of Tomorrow (or Live, Die, Repeat, whatever) is one of 2014's most entertaining films, regardless of genre. It's got a fantastic premise that actually sticks to its guns, rarely resorting to clichés and fake-outs during its brisk lifespan. I'll admit that the replay value might suffer for obvious reasons, and that's about the only reservation I might have against a blind buy...because otherwise, this is a no-brainer. Warner Bros.' Blu-ray offers a reference-quality A/V presentation and a handful of bonus features, though the presence of "retailer exclusive" extras at various brick-and-mortar outlets spoils the party somewhat. Either way, this is about as good as modern mainstream entertainment gets...so unless you saw Edge of Tomorrow theatrically and aren't itching for an immediate replay, it's undoubtedly a film worth owning. Highly Recommended.
Randy Miller III is an affable office monkey by day and film reviewer by night. He also does freelance design work, teaches art classes and runs a website or two. In his limited free time, Randy also enjoys slacking off, juggling HD DVDs and writing in third person.