A REVIEW OF ALL YOU NEED IS KILL…ER…I MEAN THE DORK TREK TITLED CRUISER SCI-FI FLICK
Here’s a quick review of the Cruise Missile Man’s Groundhog Day battle/sci fi/war flick All You Need is Kill. Sorry Jarv, I’m going with the grammatically incorrect but much more apt original title since it works better with the story than that shitty Christian Rock album title.
The Cruiser plays Major William Cage, a professional flack for the United Defense Force a multinational defense force led by NATO (snicker… NATO IS American). Cage is a great PR flack. He turned a female sergeant named Rita Vratski (Emily Blunt) into the “Angel of Verdun” where, the story goes, she won the first crucial victory of humans over the “Mimics” in the five year war against the alien invaders. Vratski also has another name, certainly less flattering and one she doesn’t seem to appreciate, “Full Metal Bitch”.
The Cruiser is ordered by Gen. Brigham (Brendon Gleeson) to go in with the first wave of soldiers hitting the beaches in France to chronicle the big invasion of Europe to push the Mimics out. This is definitely NOT on the Cruiser’s agenda since he isn’t trained for combat in any way so he tries to get out of it by finally resorting to blackmailing the General. This doesn’t work out well for Tommy Boy. He’s arrested and sent to join a ‘hard luck” squad that is going in the first wave.
This is where the the movie really gets good. We are introduced to the Cruiser’s first day of being a real soldier that he keeps on repeating through most of the movie. The term “wake up maggot” becomes the cue that you are getting to the best twenty minute montage of the movie where Cruise learns what happened to him, gets with Sgt Vratski who had the same issue as him at Verdun, gets trained and figures out how to beat the Mimics and get the hell off the beach. In this section we also meet Gunnery Sergeant Apone…er.. I mean Master Sergeant Farell played by the inimitable Bill Paxton in full scenery chewing mode and he’s entertaining as hell.
There you go that’s the basic plot of the movie and I don’t want to get into too much about it because some of the reveals will work better if you don’t know about them going in. The movie is somewhat derivative on the war side of the story but the sci fi side is surprisingly well thought out. The time travel angle is dealt with in a logical consistent manner for once. It’s actually one of the few movies with a time travel angle that seems to mostly work and stays away from paradoxes and the usual nonsense that goes with time travel. Maybe because the scope is so limited, one day, that the movie is able to stay consistent with its own internal logic.
The Cruiser as Major Cage does some of his best work in a very long time. I don’t know if Tommy boy made the choice or if his character was written that way or a collaboration happened but the Cruiser played against type in this movie. All his usual Tomminess is on display. The grin, the cockiness, the running, the callowness but it’s tweaked in such a way as to portray him as a feckless goofball. Usually Tommy plays the “with it” guy, the guy in the know, the trained man but here, at first, he is playing a total useless PR knob job, one that decidedly does not want to be the hero which is a departure for The Cruiser. Watching him train everyday and die every day, sometimes at the hands of Sgt. Vraski, reminded me that the Cruiser can act when he wants to. He sold the transformation from wimpy loser to battle hardened veteran perfectly.
For the first time ever Emily Blunt finally registered for me on screen. True, her usual blank expression was in place but somehow it worked in context of her character, a feminist wet dream of a bad ass commando and to her credit she pulls off the part. Her Sgt. Vraski is a smart tough operator and earned her nickname as the Angel of Verdun by figuring out, with the help of a disgraced physicist, what was happening to her and use it to her advantage which may or may not have led to the first major victory in the war with the Mimics.
Some random observations before I wrap this up. The movie has a lot of historical, literary, real life references. It was released on 6 June to coincide with D Day and the movie is another assault on French beaches. The Angel of Verdun is in reference to the Battle of Verdun in WW1. The battle armor is evocative of Starship Troopers. The Standard Officer uniform of the UDF is the United States Marine Corps Officers Alpha Uniform with different lapel insignia and I think they messed around with the color code a bit, it looked darker.
All in all I highly recommend the movie. It was a thoughtful well put together fun movie to watch.