The Film of the BookAll You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, directed by Doug Liman, and produced by Warner Bros. An alien force known as the Mimics are invading Earth. Humanity has fought them, seemingly to a standstill, and has begun to commit massive forces to an all-out invasion to drive the Mimics back. Major William Cage, an American PR officer, is roped into joining the first wave, watches as the invasion fails utterly, and kills a strange Mimic before dying himself......and awakes the day before the invasion. Trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop of continuously repeating events, he joins forces with Rita Vrataski, a One-Man Army war hero who knows what is happening to him, and how to use it against the invaders.Probably the first time ever that Hollywood has adapted a Japanese Light Novel.
The Ace: Rita has been hailed by the propaganda machine as a peerless hero, and is indeed an astoundingly powerful warrior thanks to countless days spent training and studying Mimic tactics in a time loop.
It's precisely her reputation that prompts Cage to seek out Rita's help in the first place; he believes that she can help stop the doomed beach invasion. He's correct, but not for the reason he initially thinks.
Achilles' Heel: The Omega. Its greatest ability (to reset time) is also its greatest weakness, and it can be passed on to its enemy.
Action Girl: Rita Vrataski, who is by far the most badass and competent soldier in the UDF. Also, Nance.
Action Survivor: Cage graduates from New Meat to this early on, at least once he starts to figure out how to avoid dying immediately. It's from there that he begins to become more of a badass.
Adaptational Badass: The Jacket suits. In the novel and manga, the Jacket's weapons can't damage Mimic's armor since Jacket users are used to provide covering fire for heavy artillery like tanks since it's only their weapons that can damage Mimics. In the movie, a single Jacket user can kill a Mimic with the right skill and enough ammo.
Afraid of Blood: Cage mentions this to his defense when the general commands him to go filming with the first wave.
After-Action Patch-Up: Which as per usual leads to an increased bonding between Cage and Rita...until she realises that's exactly what he's trying to achieve.
Age Lift: In the original novel, Cage is much younger (and Japanese). Both he and Rita are only around 18.
Aliens in Cardiff: Played with. The Omega is supposedly in a dam somewhere in Germany. Which turns out to be a ruse, with the Omega actually being beneath the Louvre in Paris.
Alien Blood: Alpha Mimics and the Omega have blue blood that turns black upon contact with human skin.
Alien Invasion: By the Mimics. It's heavily implied this isn't the first time they've done this.
All There in the Manual: It's not explicitly explained why the aliens are called Mimics in the film. In the novel and spin-off media, they're so-called because they take characteristics from any wildlife they encounter.
Supposedly a line in the news media opening went something like "They seem to be mimicking our tactics."
Always Save the Girl: This becomes problematic for Cage. While Rita meets Cage for the first time after every single reset, he continuously forms a bond with her that makes it increasingly harder for him to let her go when he repeatedly fails to save her. During one particular loop, she realizes that he has been deliberately not going as far as he can because of this trope, and attempts to force him forward by provoking a Mimic attack that kills her. Cage promptly resets and enters a Heroic BSOD.
America Saves the Day: Set up with "Operation Downfall" on the Normandy invasion. Subverted after it becomes clear that the Mimics were expecting the armies, leading them into the slaughter. Double Subverted when the American-lead portion of the allied forces manage to destroy the source at the end, preventing said slaughter.
It should be noted, though, that the movie is entirely an international effort — several other nations have kept the Mimics from advancing.
Armchair Military: Despite being responsible for recruiting millions to fight the mimics, Major Cage hasn't seen a day of combat in his life, says he only went into the military when his advertising firm folded and tells Brigham he feels queasy at the sight of blood, and as a result he's desperately trying to avoid getting sent to do propaganda coverage on the front lines of the assault. When all that fails to get him out of his assignment he tries blackmail...
Artistic License - Geography: While the meteor came down on Hamburg (northern Germany), the subsequent map showing the spreading of the alien invasion starts out at Munich (southern Germany).
Badass: Rita is by far the most competent warrior in the entire film. Cage works his way up to near her level.
Berserk Button: Never call Rita the "Full Metal Bitch" in her presence.
BFS: Prominently carried by Rita in most promotional posters, including the page image. Used in the film with lethal speed even though it's nearly the same size as her. Of course, she is wearing Powered Armor, which does the heavy lifting for her. It appears to be a broken-off propeller blade ripped from a downed dropship.
Bilingual Bonus: The news reports near the beginning come in quite a few languages, including Polish and Hebrew, and while none of the phrases are outright mispronounced or misspelled some have quite obviously been coined by a person who isn't a native speaker (for example, the "Israeli" news report is written using archaic, fanciful grammar that would never have made it to the actual evening news in Israel).
Bittersweet Ending: Cage is afraid of this happening; he doesn't want to win the war if Rita is lost along the way. It appears as though this trope will be played straight when Rita is killed in the last loop and Cage is shortly to follow, but then the movie subverts it at the last second.
Black Comedy: The movie's main source of humour. Cage's repeated deaths and his reactions are sometimes quite hilarious.
Black Dude Dies First: Inverted and ultimately averted. The black member of J Squad (Ford) is the last one of their ranks to die. And due to Ret Gone, neither he nor the rest of his squadmates end up dying.
Black Eyes of Evil: Inverted. The black eyes that Cage latter sports in the film help him figure out where The Omega is really hiding.
Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: When General Brigham questions Cage if he was trying to blackmail him, Cage's political answer is "I would prefer not to be filming acts of heroism and valor on that beach tomorrow."
Blatant Lies: One of the lines that the drill sergeant shouts at the beginning of a loop is "I'M TRYING TO BE NICE TO YOU, MAGGOT!"
Cage, during the early loops, when Rita asks him how far they got in the previous run. Also during his training. "You okay, Cage?", followed a panicked "Oh yeah! I'm good." when he's clearly limping from a broken leg.
Bloodless Carnage: Blood is only ever shown when it serves as a plot point, and save for Cage's first death, the camera always pans away from potentially gruesome scenes, even nonlethal injuries.
Though there are times when we do see blood flying from the tendrils of the mimics as they slaughter soldiers. It's most noticeable when the Alpha kills Rita during the final battle and lifts up a blood soaked tendril.
Body Horror: Cage starts melting once splattered in Mimic blood. And then the loop begins...
Boom, Headshot: Rita knows that the injured Cage is better off dead/restarted, so she shoots him in the head. Again and again.
Bottomless Magazines: Averted; Cage is shown running out of ammo when using his jacket's firearm several times. Played straight when their jackets are mounted on ships. This causes him to, at least on one occasion, ask for additional batteries, ammo and grenades when he knows how far he has to go.
Butt Monkey: Cage is this for J Squad, until her manages to earn their respect.
California Doubling: The landscape and scenery from the "German Dam" are actually from Torres del Paine National Park in Chile (Patagonia). The dam itself is CGI.
The Call Knows Where You Live: Kinda. In one loop, Cage gets fed up and sneaks off the base to drown his sorrows. In doing so, he discovers that the Mimics are going to overrun London once they've won the battle. Indeed, no matter how far Cage chooses to run, the only way he's getting any peace is if the humans win.
Car Cushion: Taken Up to Eleven when both, Cage and Rita, land side-by-side on top of the same car after falling into a crater at the Louvre.
Dr. Carter was fired from the government even though he was completely right about the Mimics.
In one loop, Cage tried to outright warn everyone about the future. They duct taped his mouth shut as a result.
In another, when Cage has ditched the fight to get a drink, he tells a bunch of bar patrons about how he's fought the war hundreds of times. They just assume he's a coward and a deserter.
Cage implies that every time he tries to convince someone, he's already tried to do so hundreds of times offscreen (each time ending in failure). This usually has him pull out all the stops by predicting every action down to the second in his on-screen attempt. It usually still doesn't work.
Rita mentions that she was also this a bunch of times back when she had the power. She usually ended up worse than Cage owing to her lack of expertise as a marketer/spokesman.
Chekhov's Boomerang: Early on, Cage witnesses a soldier strapping a Claymore to his chest, presumably preparing for a Taking You with Me moment. When the soldier is killed, Cage grabs the claymore and uses it to blow up a charging Alpha; the resulting splatter of Alpha blood is what causes his deaths to reset time. The same Claymore is reused in the final battle, when the same solder uses it for a successful Taking You with Me moment against a charging wave of Mimics.
Dr. Carter pulls out a strange-looking gadget upon first meeting Cage, but then nothing comes of it. When Cage learns that the 'visions' of the Omega's location were a fake set as a trap, Dr. Carter reveals that the gadget is an attempt to recreate a transponder that could be used to find the real location; this prompts Cage to track down and steal the original.
When time is reset Cage finds himself back on the airbase about to be woken up. The only other time we see him sleeping is at the very beginning when he is brought to London by helicopter and is woken up as they approach Whitehall. That is the moment to which time is reset at the end of the movie after Cage kills the Omega and absorbs its blood.
Early on, Rita's inability to loop again was due to a blood transfusion performed on her. This happens to Cage at the very end of the film.
Chekhov's Skill: Cage's background as a PR guy comes in handy towards the end.
The Chessmaster: The Omega Mimic. According to Carter, its only defeat (The Battle of Verdun) was intentional to lead the humans into a false sense of safety so it could crush them all at once at Operation Downfall. It also sends false visions into Cage and Rita's heads to lure them to traps.
Contagious Powers: When he's exposed to the Alpha Mimic's blood, Cage gains their ability to reset time. Cage hilariously suggests having sex with Rita to give her the power, but she tried that back when she had it and it didn't work. When he kills the Omega in the climax, its blood lets him jump back one day further, and when he gets there it's already dead.
Continuing Is Painful: Every time the loop restarts, Cage is flinching from the previous death though each successive time seems to shift from shock to annoyance. On top of that, he's realized whatdeaths are inevitable ... especially Rita's.
Contrived Coincidence: Justified. Events that in another story would be very unlikely coincidences are actually the result of Cage already living through them multiple times and thus knowing where everything is and what exactly he needs to do to succeed. The audience simply does not see the iterations that led to this. This is how Cage knows which abandoned vehicles still have fuel in it and have keys inside. He and Rita go directly to a farmhouse that has a working helicopter in the backyard because Cage has already explored the area and knows where it is.
Combat Tentacles: Pretty much all of the Mimics sport these, either as appendages or as actual skin.
Conditioned to Accept Horror: Gradually, and with the help of Rita's tutelage, Cage begins to treat his deaths and those of his squaddies as more an annoyance rather than the trouser-soiling reality.
Cryptic Background Reference: Everything about Rita's experience at Verdun, specifically the fate of the man she had to watch die hundreds of times (and presumably couldn't save before the battle ended).
Curb-Stomp Battle: The Mimics are delivering one to humanity, mostly because of the way they fight (loop time back over and over again so that the Mimics know what they need to do in order to win.) The one time they don't do this was deliberate in order to get humanity to commit all of its forces to one final battle that they will horribly lose.
Curse Cut Short: A Running Gag. Every time someone tries to call Rita a "Full Metal Bitch", the B-word is always cut short, drowned in other sounds, etc. During one of Cage's deaths (where he saves Rita Vrataski's life from the projectile that killed her the first time), after she steals his battery pack to power her own suit, a Mimic bursts out of the sand at him. Cage has enough time to scream "HOLY FU-" before the loop starts again.
Death by Adaptation: Cage is never killed by Rita in the original novel, for a very important reason.
Death Is Cheap: If you can reset time every time you die, this trope is bound to happen. Even invoked when Rita wants to reset when Cage flirts with her.
Death Montage: How Cage's many deaths are depicted in some scenes.
Decisive Battle: Operation Downfall (the invasion of France and similar attacks on every front) is essentially the equivalent of the D-Day back in WWII: Humanity is throwing all it has in an attempt to defeat the alien horde. They fail. Over and over.
Defensive Feint Trap: The Mimics do this in a larger scale variation. The (intentional) defeat at Verdun allowed them to lure the humans into an ambush at France, thus crushing the entire human resistance in a single stroke. The Mimics then take advantage of most of the soldiers in Britain being across the Channel in France to send a force around them and towards London to destroy it and conquer the British Isles.
Defrosting Ice Queen: Averted with Rita. Even though she starts bonding with Cage during they short time together, she always resets to being a cold-hearted bitch at the start of each loop.
Dirty Coward: Major Cage is a grade-A yellow-belly officer pogue who tries to weasel and blackmail his way out of the front lines, and even tries running away several times on his first loop. He grows out of it.
Diving Save: Several examples, always subverted in that the person whose life Cages saves, or Cage himself, is killed shortly after.
Dodge the Bullet: All over the place here. Cage even ends up giving multiple master classes to Rita on how to dodge every single attack that she'll ever see, down to the pace. By the end of the film, Cage is not too shabby at dodging either, even when he doesn't already know what's coming.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: Let's see - you've got a whole bunch of Scary Dogmatic Aliens that first appear in Germany before quickly engaging in several Curb-Stomp Battles against surrounding countries that were clearly unprepared for the war. However, the invasion strangely halts near Spain and Russia following the formation of an alliance between several nations, and remains largely landlocked with a goal to eventually expand to the United Kingdom, and eventually the rest of the world. This should sound familiar. The comparison to World War II is made even clearer by use of Historical In-Jokes ("Operation Downfall" was also the name of the hypothetical land invasion of Japan before use of nuclear weapons was authorized, and the actual event is more or less D-Day with aliens and mechsuits Gone Horribly Wrong).
The map showing Mimic-controlled Europe corresponds almost perfectly to that of Nazi-controlled Europe on D-Day, down to the Italian front being roughly at Rome (which was liberated right before D-Day).
Drowning My Sorrows: Cage does this when the pressure gets too much for him. The first time involves running off to a local pub; the second is while he is being outfitted with his jacket before his one-man mission to reach the dam, where Griff asks Cage if he has been drinking, which Cage's actions seem to imply as much.
The Dulcinea Effect: Nicely averted. Cage initially only tries to save Rita because he thinks she can save him: she's the world's most celebrated war hero with numerable kills under her belt. This leads to combat training, since she is indeed the only one who can help him. It is only after countless loops of spending time (equating to months or possibly years) with Rita that Cage decides he doesn't want to go on without her.
During the War: The film takes place around the fifth year of the Mimics' invasion. The film ends with the war's resolution, though it takes what likely amounts to several months if not years' worth of time loops before it finally ends..
Dwindling Party: Things do not go well for our protagonists in the climax. By the end of the final battle, every single one of them is dead. Luckily the final time trip fixes everything.
Earn Your Happy Ending: After God knows how many horrifying deaths, sacrificing all of his friends and his loved one (by her own choice), and eventually his own life, Cage destroys the Omega and ends the war at last. But thanks to the Omega's blood getting on him after it dies, he gets to jump back to before his forced recruitment, winning the war before the final battle even starts, saving all his friends, and giving him another shot with Rita.
Embarrassing Nickname: Being called the "Full Metal Bitch" is this to Rita, who is a highly-decorated international war hero. In an interview, Emily Blunt states that it is a nickname that Rita does not wish to be called by.
Enemy Mine: Competing superpowers and blocs (including NATO, Russia, and China) form a United Defence Force to repel the Mimic invasion.
Epic Fail: A few of Cage's deaths, especially the time he is hit by a car while trying to run to Rita once, and when he is hit by one while trying to roll under it.
Escort Mission: Cage and Rita's initial plan for taking down the Omega Mimic was this. Cage would escort Rita, who saddled herself with the task of killing the Omega, to where it was hiding while helping her avoid the pitfalls and ambushes along the way. It's what leads to Cage's second Despair Event Horizon, when he realizes that no matter what he does, Rita will always die partway through.
Everybody Lives: Within the film timeline itself, the Reset Button undoes every death that happened from the time Cage was forced into service. On a broader scale, however, everything leading up to that still happened, so most of Europe is still a blighted, lifeless wasteland.
The mimics themselves move in a manner that involves whirling their body in a corkscrew-like motion while whipping limbs in every direction, seemingly at random, but in reality setting up numerous handholds and preparing several simultaneous attacks, so that they may move and strike in any direction they see fit.
Rita's wind-up spin when she's attacking Mimics or training drones with her sword also involves some gratuitous level of spinning.
The omega's core consists of a spinning sphere, probably representing the Hive Mind's brain.
False Reassurance: Cage attempts to blackmail General Brigham, saying he would prefer not to be on the front lines recording war propaganda. Brigham pauses a moment, then calmly responds, "You won't be." Cue the scene where Cage realizes he won't be filming the war, he'll be fighting in it.
Fat Comic Relief/Man Child: Kimmel, the fat member of J Squad. He even goes to battle buck-naked underneath the armor and has a teddy bear strapped to his chestpiece.
Feel No Pain: As a result of the time loops, Cage and Rita become considerably more numb to pain.
Pretty much everything Sergeant Farrell says before the invasion qualifies. Highlights include Cage being "baptized" (by the Alpha's blood), how the man will be reborn (via the time loops), and how if you've got enough guts and smarts you can master your own fate (Cage's Training from Hell making him a strong and savvy opponent for the Save Scumming Mimics). Battle being the one great redeemer also foretells Cage's Character Development from a snivelling coward to a hardcore Bad Ass.
Rita mentions that the victory at Verdun was a feint by the enemy to lure humanity into a misplaced confidence in victory. This also turns out to be the case of the 'visions' that led Rita and later Cage to believe that they have found the location of the Omega.
Gallows Humour: Repeatedly, at first from the members of J Squad and then from Cage and Rita themselves.
Skinner: Mate. Mate! There's something wrong with your suit... there's a dead guy in it!
*umpteen deaths later*
Skinner: Mate. Mate! There's something wrong with your suit...!
Genius Bruiser: Not only the constant fighting Cage do on the loops makes him stronger, he also been able to memorize nearly every single detail on the past loop and use it to advance further in the current loop.
Get It Over With: After Cage's one-man mission to reach the dam — where the Omega was supposedly hiding — and sacrificing everything just to get there only to find that it was never there all along, Cage yells at the advancing Alpha Mimic to "finish it already". Unfortunately for him, the Alpha Mimic is content with just making him bleed out.
Any time Cage sustains an injury that would prevent him from continuing (from a broken leg or full paralysis) Rita kills him so he can start over. Eventually he starts accepting it.
Gilligan Cut: Cage's first attempt to tell Farrell the truth. The scene immediately cuts to Farrell's men dragging Cage by his arms while he shouts he's not insane. Not too long thereafter, after Cage demonstrates his foreknowledge of things he shouldn't know, the scene cuts to him being gagged.
Got Volunteered: Cage is thrown into front line combat against his will when he refuses to go in to film a war documentary and tries to blackmail his way out of it.
The Greatest Story Never Told: Everytime Cage resets the day, he is the only one who remembers the heroics and tragedies that occurred during that run through. During the final battle, Cage, Rita, and J Squad all know that it is a Suicide Mission and even if they succeed no one will know what they did. The final reset brings them back to life, but only Cage remembers their heroics and sacrifice, and only Rita and Dr. Carter would even believe him if he said what happened.
Great Offscreen War: The Battle of Verdun, where Rita let the allied forces to a victory over the aliens.
Green Rocks: The blood of Alpha and Omega Mimics has magical time reversing power.
Hand Wave: The inability of Rita and Cage to transfer the reset power the same way the Alpha can is given this treatment. During training, when Cage suggests he simply give the ability to Rita rather than learn to use it himself, she dismisses him with a simple "I've tried everything, nothing works" and the point is never revisited.
This is required to cover an Adaptation Induced Plot Hole, since in the light novel, Rita has unknowingly become a different but necessary part of the looping process, making reverse transference impossible.
Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Fighting against the Mimic horde with Alphas in their ranks is this for the human forces, not that they know about it. If they kill the Alphas, the Omega just resets time in order to adapt and come out on top. If they don't kill the Alphas, the Mimic horde comes out on top.
Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Rita and Cage don't use helmets much. Lampshaded about halfway through the movie, where Cage says they're "just a distraction" and helmets don't appear to be very useful against Mimics anyway.
Somewhat justified; since Cage is trying to avoid or anticipate Mimics while fighting, and a mistake is pretty an instant death anyway, the increased awareness from not wearing a helmet is probably more useful than the minimal protection it gives him.
His first leads him to simply desert and heads to a British pub to drown away his sorrows, only to find that the Mimics would eventually overrun London.
His second comes after watching Rita die at the farmhouse. This one is so horrible that the Drill Sergeant Nasty who awakens him(who every other time prior to that treated him like garbage to be sorted) quietly hands him his gear in recognition of a fellow soldier's Thousand-Yard Stare.
It also results in a Crowning Moment of Awesome as he wields that trauma like a scalpel, bullying the supply officer into giving him extra gear, then charging right through Germany to kill the Omega without any regard to everything around him. Though this one reveals that the Omega has been sending false visions to its whereabouts the entire time.
Played with when Cage is on the gurney after his blood transfusion; it looks like he's about to have his third BSOD, but then Rita comes out and the whole thing is averted.
Some old British gentlemen at one point discuss how this entire war resembles World War II. Considering the major human counter-strike is set to occur at France in what greatly resembles D-Day, one can see where they're coming from.
A potentially tide-turning victory against the aliens was won near Verdun, the site of a major, months-long battle in World War I - itself something of a Pyrrhic Victory where both sides suffered horrific casualties. The meat-grinder at Verdun also led to the Battle of the Somme in an attempt to grant the French forces some relief and was one of the bloodiest battles in history and holds the dubious honour of the largest loss of life in a single day in UK military history.
A major landing operation aimed at securing Normandy's beaches to allow the UDF to move into Europe. It's pretty much Operation Overlord repeating itself.
Operation Downfall was the name of the planned invasion of the Japanese homeland. While the Allied forces would most likely have won (especially with Russian support), it would have been the most bloody engagement of the war, at least for America. And just like the Japanese Downfall, the one in the movie is averted due to the actions of a small team flying in with a single plane.
Cage develops something of a one-sided relationship with Rita due to the nature of the looping, and it is heavily implied that she had one of these during Verdun. When she recognizes the parallels and the resulting implications, she does not react well.
Historical In-Joke: The movie was released on June 6th in America, the same day of the D-Day invasion back in World War II (specifically, on the 70th Anniversary). The movie's opening conflict is essentially D-Day in the future gone horribly wrong... and the landing takes place in France.
Operation Downfall was the name of the planned invasion of Japan during WWII. It didn't happen due to the atomic bombs prompting Japan to surrender.
Hive Mind: The Mimics have one, which Cage accidentally enters by killing an Alpha and being splashed with its blood., with the Omega Mimic being the Hive Queen.
Hoist by His Own Petard: The Omega. Its greatest ability (to reset time) is also its greatest weakness, and it can be passed on to its enemy. Not only that, but it can only reset time when one of its Alpha mimics dies. It cannot actually reset itself in the event of its death...meaning it is literally the end once it is killed.
Hopeless War: While they are unaware, humanity will be overrun by the Mimics, no matter how well they fight. It's only thanks to Cage entering the Mimic "Groundhog Day" Loop that they even have a chance, and he can't actually hope to change the tide of the battle, but instead has to kill the Omega before the slaughter.
Humans Are Special: This is essentially one of the theories of how humans are able to hijack the Mimics' time looping ability.
Improbable Weapon User: When is a torn-off propeller no longer a propeller but a sword? When Rita's handling it.
In Spite of a Nail: No matter how cowardly, confident, or bleakly competent Cage shows himself to be, Skinner always tells him the same joke about there being something wrong with his suit—that there's a dead guy in it. Even when his Thousand-Yard Stare silences Farell's usual speach.
It Gets Easier: For Cage, dying seems to become easier for him to handle with each successive loop. Eventually, his flinching "wake-up" call that starts up a loop becomes one of annoyance rather than utter shock.
Jerkass: General Brigham goes back and forth between having a heart of gold and being a flat-out jerk. He strongarms Cage into doing a war documentary despite Cage's obvious reservations about combat, but he's trying to put a good face on something that is objectively going to be a horrible tragedy even if it succeeds. When Cage tries to blackmail him out of doing it, he has Cage arrested, thrown into a penal unit, and falsifies documents claiming he's a deserter and impersonating an officer. Later on, when Cage is trying to talk Brigham into giving him Carter's device, he notes that every single tactic he's tried has utterly failed to get even an ounce of cooperation from him (which isn't that surprising, given their past meeting). His one successful method turns out to be a betrayal anyway. Even Rita notes that she couldn't work with the man; her attempts to get him to believe she could time-loop got her dissected in one loop, and Cage even mentions that she shot him during one of their previous loops. On the other hand, he got his secretary's son transferred to Australia instead of the front-lines of Europe. Summed up, clearly he's just very big on loyalty and cooperation, but to somewhat amoral extremes.
And Rita clearly shows where she got her Full Metal Bitch nickname. Having seen her comrades (one of them implied to be a Love Interest) die hundreds of times, she refuses to connect with anyone, beginning each reintroduction by demanding to know who said Cage could even speak to her. Cage on the other hand never gives up being a PR man, so he's able to convince his Ragtag Bunch of Misfits he's telling the truth because he remembered details of their private lives. Even though she's a member of an elite squad, Rita never mentions the possibility of getting them into the act, having apparently failed to bond with her own unit.
Jerkass Has a Point: When Cage is drowning his sorrows in London pub, he bluntly points out to other patrons that it makes no difference what Mimics want - what's important is that they are here and winning the war.
Just A Flesh Wound: Any injury so severe that a person needs a blood transfusion to recover (as Cage did in the auto accident), is not one you can leap up from and run out on a combat mission afterwards.
Key Under the Doormat: Conveniently, Rita finds the keys to the minivan above the driver's side sun visor.
Lonely at the Top: At first it seems that Rita's earned her "Full Metal Bitch" nickname more through her aggressively frosty demeanour than through Cage's advertising campaign. Eventually we learn that she's also been killed, and watched her friends and loved ones die, hundreds of times and uses her infamy to stop anyone getting close to her.
Market-Based Title: The Japanese release of the film carries the same title as the original novel.
The U.S. home releases seem to change the film's main title to its original tagline, Live. Die. Repeat., in an attempt to effectively "re-launch" the film's marketing following its initially poor performance.
Mercy Kill: Invoked. Rita insists that Cage should kill himself (or let himself be killed by somebody else) if he is K.O., crippled, or otherwise incapacitated. This is because doing otherwise might result in him being given a blood transfusion or just bleeding out, which would rob him of the time-warping power.
Despite going through ROTC in college, Cage treats being in the army as just another PR job and does not treat the chain of command seriously. It is clear that he is too used to dealing with politicians, journalists and PR officers. He tries to treat General Brigham as just another paper pusher and is slapped for it hard. He should know that when a four star general tells you to do something, it is not a suggestion and that refusing will land you in a heap of trouble.note ROTC is often treated as a joke by enlisted members of the military, and often screams "pogue" if it's mentioned.
J Squad is composed of a number of characters who really should not be in the army. It is a penal unit that gets the dregs of an army that is too desperate for warm bodies to turn down anyone who enlists. Not to mention Kimmell, who if the UDF wasn't so desperate for men would undoubtedly be arrested for going into battle naked.
Minovsky Physics: The time loop is only triggered by the death of a Mimic Alpha, a human spattered with Alpha blood, or a Mimic Omega, so there has to be human infantry fighting or the plot doesn't happen, but killing an Alpha will reset the time loop, so Alphas are untouchable. Somehow, humans spattered with Alpha blood tap into the Mimic consciousness but the Mimics can send fake visions, but a handheld human device can force truthful visions. Basically, the time loop is only and exactly what is required to have a handful of infantry win the war in a very dramatic way.
Missing Trailer Scene: Cage and Vrataski's exchange of "I'm not a soldier." "Of course you're not. You're a weapon." never takes place in the movie.
Modern Major General: While not a General, Major Cage qualifies. He's quite skilled at propaganda and at playing public opinion, but he's also never seen active combat and has absolutely no clue how to fight. This is illustrated in the beginning of the movie where he repeatedly asks other soldiers how to turn off the safety on his guns, and only figures it out seconds before his first death.
However, his smooth talk is what ends up getting him the furthest of all of his death loops.
Monumental Damage: The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and other Paris landmarks have been seriously damaged by the aliens. Perhaps that should have been a clue that the dam in Germany was a trap, what with being completely undamaged.
The suits appear to actually be armed with some variant of a 5.56mm carbine, with an underbarrel grenade launcher. The shoulders pack a Metal Storm variant (that appears to fire something akin to 25mm rockets) that detaches each barrel-cluster once that section of the ammo is depleted. The other shoulder-mount seems to have some sort of high-caliber rifle or light cannon attached. A lot of firepower for a single soldier, but nothing close to a minigun. An actual minigun would weigh about as much as all the weaponry on the suit put together.
The female protagonist is named Rita, just like the female lead in Groundhog Day.
The name "Cage" is what English-speakers sometimes call Keiji in All You Need Is Kill, since they can't get the hang of pronouncing "Keiji."
Also, the name "Cage", when written in Japanese, is spelled "Keiji" (ケイジ), due to the fact that foreign words and names are written phonetically.
Almost everything in the road trip and farmhouse scenes.
Cage suggests Rita wait in the cellar of a farmhouse while he fights the Mimic ambush. In the novel she did this as a 14 year old girl during a Mimic attack.
Cage grabs an ax, his preferred weapon in the novel. Also in the novel, Mimics were originally handled easily by small groups with axes. He grabs it during the farmhouse scene. In the novel, Rita's father fought the Mimic scout group with nothing but an ax.
"Hendricks" is mentioned as someone from Rita's past, who used to be close to her.
"Is there something on my face, soldier?" would be the first thing Rita would say to Keiji every loop.
Rita grabbing something from a dying Cage, much to his annoyance.
During his original drop, Cage accidentally sets his Jacket's language to Japanese. Cage's character was originally Japanese.
Rita's unofficial nickname is the "Full Metal Bitch", the same as in the novel. However, every time someone tries to says it, they're cut off, usually by Rita.
One of the early news reports, specifically the one with the female newscaster, mentions the Mimic's name origin which is also the reasoning as to why they are called that in the original Light Novel.
An extremely important character development scene takes place as the two of them are waiting for coffee to brew, albeit inside the farmhouse rather than in the sky lounge.
Beautifully subverted with Rita, becoming an important plot point. It is implied that exsanguination had the same effect as a blood transfusion. Rita was upset that the combat medics inadvertently cost her the reset power, but had she been left to simply bleed out, she would have lost her ability anyway along with her life - permanently. Being "out" also prevented Rita from falling into the Omega's trap, which likely would have worked since she was unaware of the blood consequences at the time. Both scenarios would have led to humanity's Game Over. Teaching Cage the "number one rule" saved him when he did fall for the trap, and kept the Alpha from successfully taking back the reset.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Alpha Mimic attacking Cage (and subsequently bleeding on him when Cage pulls a Taking You with Me attack on the alien) grants him his "Groundhog Day" Loop power, making victory against the Mimics possible. It helps especially that he's positioned near the only other person who had previously possessed that power.
Likewise, Gen. Brigham is positioned as an antagonistic character, representing unbridled power with no responsibility. But if he hadn't abused his power and sent Cage into a place he wasn't remotely equipped for (IE Normandy), mankind would be lost. Brigham's Uriah Gambit saved the world.
New Meat: At the start of the film, Cage is a Major with no battle experience. He's demoted to Private and sent to the front lines. In the book, his character is a more traditional young Private.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In an early iteration, Cage saves Rita's life. She 'thanks' him by taking his suit's power pack to replace her damaged one, and Cage is rather annoyed, despite the fact he's got a hole in his chest and is most likely dying. Without a working suit Cage is killed moments later. See the Shoot the Dog entry below.
No OSHA Compliance: Subverted. Rita's "training" room with the stupidly deadly robot Mimics is supposed to be a long distance firing range, complete with very clear DO NOT CROSS step-offs and remote controls. She has other ideas. No one seems to dare to object.
Non-Answer: After a failed attempt to break out of General Bingham's headquarters, Cage wakes up strapped to a gurney, being examined by a nurse who tells Cage she's under orders not to speak to him. Cage begs her to at least tell him if Rita is still alive. The nurse replies, "Sorry" and leaves, causing Cage to assume that Rita is dead. Only Rita turns up moments later, so the nurse actually meant, "Sorry, but I can't talk to you."
Not with the Safety on, You Won't: Name-checked directly when an untrained Cage tries to get out of combat by saying he might accidentally hurt someone with his Jacket. Cage at first is stuck with a locked armor, with attempts at removing the safety going hilariously wrong. And then he gets a second chance and quickly learns the proper method.
Nothing Is Scarier: What we see of the (seemingly) empty French countryside is this. There's nothing but empty highways and abandoned homes with noone in sight. There's little clue as to what happened to the people here during the Mimic invasion, which is best left at that.
Now or Never Kiss: Between Cage and Rita, during the suicide mission to kill the Omega under the Louvre.
Offhand Backhand: When Cage finally stays alive long enough to get to Rita, he kills several Mimics without even looking at them, tipping her off that Cage is stuck in a time-loop just like she used to be.
Older and Wiser: The old regulars at the British pub seem to make rather perceptive guesses as to what the Mimics might be after compared to the United Defence Force. Somewhat justified, given that they've lived through World War II and they relay stories of their war veteran fathers and uncles.
One-Man Army: Cage once he hits his Despair Event Horizon a second time.
One Phone Call: Cage demands one from Sergeant Farell at the airbase. Too bad the sergeant thinks Cage is an impostor trying to sabotage the operation.
One World Order: Averted. Although humanity's banded together to fight the alien menace, the world's nations retain their sovereignty. The United Defense Force meanwhile is essentially a cross between NATO and the UN Peacekeepers plus the Russian and Chinese armies.
The Only One: Cage, and previously Rita, are the only people with enough knowledge of how the mimics work and the only humans who have ever been equipped with the Reset Button needed to combat them. As such they're the only people that can effectively combat them. Subverted after Cage loses the power in the same way Rita did and is unable to achieve victory on his own - and so enlists the help of J Squad to end the mimic scourge once and for all. Of course, it helps he's become a legitimate Badass by that point.
Planet Looters: Discussed. London barflies speculate that the Mimics are after either oxygen or minerals, but their true motives are left vague.
Neither suggestion is likely to be correct, as both are plentiful without any need to invade inhabited planets. On the other hand, there is something that can only be gained from humanity and with time-looping powers: nigh-endless amounts of war experience.
Plot Coupon: In order to proceed with his quest and find the Omega, Cage has to fetch the Omega detector from General Brigham's safe at Whitehall.
P.O.V. Boy, Poster Girl: Literally. Cage is the protagonist, but Rita is featured in some promotional materials without him.
The Power of Blood: Rita and Cage gain the "Groundhog Day" Loop power after being infected with the Alpha Mimic's blood. When they are gravely injured and administered a blood transfusion, they lose it. It's also implied slowly bleeding to death would do the trick, which the Mimics try on Cage. He kills himself before that can play out.
Powered Armor: The troops have one with a gamut of weapons, ranging from wrist machine guns to a Shoulder Cannon. It's called a "jacket" in-universe.
Pragmatic Adaptation: Several alterations were made to make a Japanese YA novel work better as a Hollywood blockbuster:
Since film is a visual medium, the Mimics' appearances were changed to be more intimidating than the long-tailed frog-like creatures of the original story.
Likewise the jackets are open exoskeletons that show the actors rather than the full-body suits of the novel; similarly the lethal nanobot 'blood' of the Mimics that necessitated such protection has been adapted out.
In order to cut down on time spent on exposition and allow the story to be more neatly wrapped up in two hours, the aliens' biology/social structure was streamlined considerably.
A number of cultural touchstones were altered in order to make the story and characters more identifiable to a Western film audience:
The protagonists became British and American rather than Japanese.
The historical allusions were largely switched from the downfall of Imperial Japan to the D-Day landings (with a couple of World War One references for spice).
The protagonist went from a standard young-adult audience-insert, an Ordinary High-School Student who has to do a lot of growing up in a very short time, to a sleazy middle-aged media-man with a redemption arc. Not only did this allow them to draw audiences and secure a budget with Cruise's star-power (and insert some sly jokes at the expense of his somewhat chequered reputation), but it also let them sell the outlandish premise by creating further parallels with the beloved time-travel comedy Groundhog Day.
Cage refusing to comply with a direct order from a four star general was not going to end well. The fact that he then tries to extort the general only makes the situation worse. What Cage got was arguably overkill, but he was just asking to be put in his place.
What does Cage get for trying to convince his squad that he's from the future? Duct tape over his mouth and some funny looks at their obviously insane squadmate.
Rita might be a massive badass but even her combat skills are not enough to save her during the battle on the beach. In the first few run-throughs she dies before New Meat Cage.
Trying to roll under a moving truck is going to end with Ludicrous Gibs unless you can time it extremely precisely.
Ford asks what they should do if an Alpha is about to kill them, since killing an Alpha would reset the day in the Mimics' favor. Cage grimly tells him he'd just have to take one for the team.
Anyone who becomes dead weight is treated (by others, themselves, or both) with utilitarianism: whatever use left in them, if any, is taken advantage of before moving on.
Red Baron: Rita is known as the "Full Metal Bitch" and "The Angel of Verdun".
Red Herring: The vision of the Omega hiding inside a dam in Germany turns out to be a ruse.
Refusal of the Call: Cage, after finding out about his timelooping powers from Rita, initially tries this. He then resigns himself to the call once Rita begins his training and makes it their duty to get to the Omega, and finally accepts the call at the peak of his character development.
Reset Button: The Mimics have weaponized this, and so has Cage, accidentally. By the end of the movie, a larger one undoes every major death in the film.
A very subtle one, from the beginning of the movie up until the end. Cage is listed as a deserter when he enters the ranks of J Squad. Throughout the movie, his actions always involve some level of desertion, like when they were trying to reach the dam in Germany, and even the final act that ends the war involves Cage and Rita convincing J Squad to commit desertion by leaving their posts and heading to the Lourve.
Sacrificial Lion: Even though Rita is probably the most skilled Mimic fighter the humans have, she is killed early in the battle if Cage does not save her. This clearly underscores how dire the situation is for the human army.
Save Scumming: What Cage does by constantly dying and going back to relive the same events over and over amounts to. Also, Rita could do this up until she was injured and had some of her blood replaced, which removed the power. In addition, The Omega automatically does this when an Alpha dies so it can adapt to whatever the humans do.
Shaggy Dog Story: Rita and Cage's attempts to find and kill the Omega at Verdun and the dam respectively.
A Shared Suffering: Cage has Fire-Forged Friends to draw him closer to Rita, but as she only knows Cage for two days at most it's likely this trope that draws her to Cage despite her struggling against it. Only one other person in the world even believes her, and even he doesn't know what it's like to die, and see your friends die, over and over.
Shoot the Money: When Cage abandons his suit in a field the camera lingers on it for a bit. Partly to show that he has to go on without the armor, but probably also because those props were expensive and complex and the audience can take a good look at one for once.
Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The Mimic Hive Mind likes to use this to defeat its enemies. It presents an enemy with a chance to beat it in one decisive action. The enemy spends all its time and resources pursuing this opportunity but in the end discovers that it was just a trap. The Hive Mind then destroys the enemy in one fell swoop. The Mimics are about to play this out by 'shooting' humanity in the battle on the beaches when Cage subverts it by accidentally acquiring their Reset Button power.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: Rita due the continued toll of the conflict and Cage due the countless loops he suffered through.
Shell-Shock Silence: Cage has at least two of these moments. First when his drop ship is hit and later when he is overwhelmed by the terror on the battlefield and all sounds go mute for a while.
When the drop ship is piloted toward the front of the Louvre, two Mimics jump on top and start tearing it apart. This is exactly like when the Hunter Killers attack the Nebuchadnezzar at the end of Matrix Reloaded.
Suspiciously Apropos Music: The ending music, Love Me Again, by John Newman is terribly appropriate, since Cage meets Rita again, only this time he knows there's a chance with her after going through so many loops.
Taking You with Me: The first time he goes into battle, Cage notices some of the other soldiers strapping Claymore mines to themselves. Worst case scenario, they pull it and die, but as long as it's pointed in the right direction more Mimics will bite the dust than the one soldier lost. Cage himself resorts to this when the Alpha attacks him, which is how he is exposed to its blood.
During the climax, two members of J Squad are injured and blow themselves — and several advancing Mimics — up in order to give Cage and Rita an opening.
They Would Cut You Up: Cage asks Rita, why they don't just tell General Bingham what's happening. Rita says that she's already tried it countless times and was usually thrown in the psych ward, except for the one time they believed her and she was vivisected.
Thousand-Yard Stare: Cage sports one for the entire loop after he fails to save Rita one time too many. The sight of it is enough to cut Farrell's speech short and convince Griff to hand over the equipment he asks for. He gets better after learning the dam is a trap, since it means they don't have to follow the scenario in which she keeps dying.
Time Master: The Mimics use this to "retry" battles they lost. Cage accidentally being caught up in their ability is what kicks off the plot.
Took a Level in Badass: Thanks to innumerable "replays" of the same day, Cage goes from "completely clueless" to "god of war" in his mastery of battle suit warfare. He takes two in particular, however. One involves his mastery of his "Groundhog Day" Loop to kill a lot of Mimics, the other involves Rita's Training from Hell actually teaching him how to react to his knowledge of the battlefield.
(Cage butchers a dozen mimics in less than a minute) Hey Sarge, the new guy, what's his name again?
Training from Hell: Exaggerated. Day after day, Rita gives Cage an unforgiving and literally murderous training routine, which typically ends with Cage killed either by the training robots or by Rita herself. But also justified, because she's exploiting his powers to give him months of training in a single day.
Trainstopping: A Carstopping variant. When Cage and Rita steal a car from General Bingham's headquarters, they run into a redcap guard in Powered Armor who stops their vehicle with one smash of his exoskeleton's fists.
Tricked Out Time: After destroying the Omega, Cage is covered in his blood and goes back... to the day before the one of the loop. With the Omega already dead!
Thanks to the die-reload plot device with Cage, reviewers have also noted the presence of a number of video game tropes. (In point of fact, video games were the author's primary inspiration for the original light novel.)
Trust Password: Rita devises one for Cage when he first convinces her that he can time travel, allowing him to quickly convince past her in subsequent loops. She also decides to reveal her second name "Rose" to him, probably to make it even easier for him in subsequent "runs".
Twenty Minutes into the Future: The date is never stated, but except for the powered armor, the dropships, and Dr. Carter's holographic table, all of the technology seen on-screen is modern-day.
Also during the opening sequence we see clips of several current real life news networks.
Twenty Minutes with Jerks: The entirety of the opening right up until Cage kills an Alpha. Ferrel and J Squad don't really make any friends among the audience the first time you see them. Neither does Cage as a matter of fact until his Character Development.
Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: The Omega detector. Dr. Carter notes that, though it was finished, they never tested it out, which does bother Cage somewhat. Rita "helps" him go through with the testing procedure anyway.
Unskippable Cutscene: Some of Cage's later iterations of the recruitment dialogue are very reminiscent of someone trying to impatiently rush through a cutscene conversation as quickly as possible.
The Uriah Gambit: The film begins with Major Cage first attempting to desert (a crime with steep penalties under military law as it is), and then stupidly pointing out to General Brigham that he's a potential threat to the General's reputation if left alive. Brigham promptly puts him in a front-line combat unit with no training and a fake backstory guaranteed to alienate his squadmates, essentially ensuring that he'll be killed the next day.
Vasquez Always Dies: Averted or perhaps Subverted, depending the way you look at it. The "Vasquez", Nance, the less feminine Action Girl of the film in comparison to Rita, is killed in the final battle, but so is everyone else. Furthermore, due the movie's ending Reset Button, she ends up alive and unscathed.
However, she does die off screen between Cage falling in the water and regrouping with the rest while a few other characters get at least the chance to go out in a blaze of glory on screen and Rita survives all the way to the climax.
War Is Hell: The first time Cage leads the charge of Operation Downfall is absolutely horrifying, with men dying by the droves in meaningless deaths. Several times the movie also notes how brutal and bleak war is.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: General Brigham has no qualms about forcing Cage into battle with a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits or throwing whole armies into a campaign that can potentially end in disaster. On the other hand, he's perfectly aware of the realities of war and sincerely wants to put an end to the Mimics once and for all, even if it means trying to sugar coat the inevitable stream of body bags and the possibility of failure. Given the circumstances, it's not like he has much of a choice.
Yet Another Stupid Death: A non-video-game example, although it certainly feels like one. A number of times that Cage dies in the first half of the film are due to easily avoidable mistakes and/or not figuring out where the enemy is going to attack next.
You Can't Thwart Stage One: Humans who reset absolutely can not affect the initial conditions of recurring events. Not only does any attempt to avert the beach slaughter fail, but any attempt to tell other humans about the ability will be disbelievedor a big mistake - Rita was able to get the brass to believe her at one point, but it only led them to vivisect her. She manages to drag a geek into her circle of disbelief, though, and only because he figured the Mimics use time itself - and was demoted for it.
You Have to Believe Me: Cage's efforts to tell his story are quite fruitless at first. Near the movie's end, he manages to get J Squad's members to believe him.
Zerg Rush: The only tactic used by humans or aliens (abeit, the Mimics have effective anti-aircraft fire on the beach, though no AA units are seen, and they are unable to stop one helicopter flying from Normandy to Germany).
The weapon fire is briefly shown to come from Mimics in the rear lines. Given their biomechanical nature and how both the mimics and their weapon projectiles move in a corkscrew-like motion, it's possible they're literally firing red-hot pieces of themselves at the enemy. Their strange projectiles appear in almost every scene involving battling Mimics, but are much more light and random. As an extension to the trope, the AA at Normandy may have only been effective through sheer weight of fire.