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"Live. Die. Repeat."
— Tagline

Edge of Tomorrownote  is a 2014 American sci-fi/action film based on the light novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. The film stars Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt; it was directed by Doug Liman and produced by Warner Bros.

In the near future, an alien force known as the Mimics have invaded Earth. Humanity has fought the Mimics for years; when the planetary war reaches a seeming standstill, the military raises a massive force for an all-out assault meant to drive the Mimics back for good. Major William Cage (Cruise), an American PR officer, is roped into joining the first wave. The military strike fails in spectacular fashion, but Cage does manage to kill a strange Mimic during the assault. The blood that spews from the dying Mimic dissolves Cage's body; he dies on the beach where the strike began.

...and awakens the day before the strike.

Cage is now trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop of continuously repeating events; his only way out is with the help of Rita Vrataski (Blunt), a war hero who helped the military achieve a massive victory over the Mimics. Cage and Vrataski work together across numerous cycles of Live-Die-Repeat to improve Cage's abilities as a soldier and figure out how his predicament can ultimately push back the invaders for good.

This is probably the first time ever that Hollywood adapted a Japanese Light Novel. It only adapts the basic premise, though—past the first act, the film and the book follow vastly different storylines.

Warner Bros. announced a sequel, Live Die Repeat and Repeat in April 2016.


Trope. Example. Repeat.

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The date is never statednote , but except for the powered armor, the dropships, and Dr. Carter's holographic table, all of the technology seen on-screen is present in the modern day. During the opening sequence, we see clips of several actual news networks, as well as then-current French president François Hollande. The powered armor is even possible now, given Raytheon's prototypes and the U.S. Army's TALOS armor research. The cost of producing them on a mass scale and deploying them against opponents that can be fought more easily than Mimics—like fellow humans—makes the idea less than viable, though.
  • Abandoned Playground: Visible at the deserted trailer park behind the enemy lines.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: When Cage runs out of ammo for the first time, he appropriates a claymore mine he noticed another soldier strapping to his Jacket. Anyone with any knowledge of explosives whatsoever would know that a claymore going off will kill anything within a few feet of it — the stamp just shows where the bulk of the shrapnel will be hurled — and seen it as something to stay the hell away from; the soldier strapped it on as a last-ditch suicide attack. Cage, being literal Armchair Military, sees the "FRONT TOWARD ENEMY" stamp, grabs it and points the stamp at an attacking Alpha Mimic, believing he can use it as a improvised close-range weapon. It kills them both, but splatters him with the Alpha's gore, giving him the looping ability. He only became The Only One capable of defeating the Mimics because he is literally Too Dumb to Live!
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The After Action Patchup scene at the farmhouse is a heartwarming moment.
  • 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. Although, since the Jackets are MUCH less powerful than they are in the novels (where they're full-blown Mini-Mecha) this can mostly be attributed to the Mimics, despite their more intimidating appearance, suffering from Adaptational Wimp.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The movie covers a vastly wider scope than the original novel. The events of the novel were centered around a single battle in the ongoing war with the Mimics, while the movie is based around humanity's final battle and ends with their ultimate victory.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication:
    • In the novel/manga, Rita used a sword because she kept running out of ammo. Here, that's not an explicit problem (and the guns are better against mimics anyway), but she still uses a sword. On the other hand, Cage never gets a melee weapon of his own, unlike his novel/manga counterpart.
    • It's never explained exactly why the mimics are attacking. Some theories are trotted out, but in the end it's dismissed as unimportant. In the novel/manga, it was because with their Save Scumming ability, the mimics never saw a need to do anything but slaughter everyone in their path. They were only a few light years from Earth, but didn't even bother to check if the planet was inhabited before arriving.
  • After Action Patchup: 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.
  • Alien Invasion: By the Mimics. It's heavily implied this isn't the first time they've done this.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Mimics seem to have no goals other than the complete elimination of humanity and conquering the Earth.
  • 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.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • It's not explicitly explained why the aliens are called Mimics in the film, aside from a mention of mimicking human tactics. In the novel and spin-off media, they're so-called because they take characteristics from any wildlife they encounter.
    • The jackets have a sort of "training wheels" mode, which most of the soldiers are using so they don't accidentally kill themselves. Cage and Rita show us what you can do when you take the wheels off.
  • 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 B.S.O.D..
  • 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. Restored when the American-led portion of the allied forces manage to destroy the source at the end, preventing said slaughter.
  • Amusing Injuries: During Cage's Training Montage and Death Montage.
  • Animesque: Being an adaptation of a Japanese light novel/manga, multiple anime influences are visible, ranging from the Power Armor, BFS, the relationship between the male and female leads, the Stock Japanese Characters of the squad, and even several of the action setpieces.
  • Answer Cut:
    • When Cage mentions to Rita that he cannot help her because he is not trained for combat, we see her making a funny face. Then cut to the Training from Hell montage.
    • When Rita ask Cage "Who is crazy enough to follow us", the scene cuts to Cage bumping into two members of J Squad.
  • Anyone Can Die: And frequently instantly with no warning. There's a lot of firepower flying around; even when Cage temporarily saves a character, it is usually quite temporary.
  • Arc Words:
    • "On your feet maggot!"
    • "You keep coming here every day and I'll train you."
    • "Hey mate! I think there's something wrong with your suit!" "Yeah, there's a dead guy in it."
    • "Reload!" Cage's exosuit computer tells him this whenever he runs out of ammunition on his arm-mounted machine gun. The first time he hears this (after he kills his first Mimic), it's an Oh, Crap! moment because he has no idea how to do it. By the time he is fighting alongside Rita on the beach, he's mastered combat in his suit to the point that when he runs out of ammo, he reloads his weapon before the computer tells him to.
  • 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...
  • Armor Is Useless: Played with. The Jackets are very lightly armored, and one character is shown suiting up primarily naked and we can see his exposed skin. They are shown taking some extensive damage without harm, but even with the jackets they are outmatched by an individual mimic.
  • 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).
    • You have probably seen the "German" meteor fall before, if either you were watching TV or have noticed it on YouTube. It's from an actual meteor fall in Russia in 2013.
    • Curnera dam, Germany, where The Omega lures Cage into a trap to reclaim his power is presumably the dam to a real reservoir called Lai da Curnera... in Switzerland. (It was autocorrected in the German dub.)
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign:
    • 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).
    • After Cage has emptied his clip during the first battle, the computer on his exosuit tells him in Japanese to reload. Downplayed, since the English meaning is provided soon after.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Rita and Cage on the battleground.
  • Batman Gambit: The Mimics masterstroke hinged on humanity taking the bait and committing their full force to a single attack. They happen to be entirely correct.
    • Alternatively, they just used their Save Scumming power to see what the humans' reaction to their victory would be, and then adapted their defenses to that event.
  • Battle Couple: Once Cage reaches Rita's level of skill, he and Rita are this, as shown when they fight in tandem on the beach while a stunned J Squad looks on, with bonus point for Back-to-Back Badasses.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Rita has apparently mastered the art of leaving a good-looking corpse. Apart from very few deaths, her face is always only slightly dirtied and any mortal wounds received are hidden by her uniform and armour.
  • 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.
  • The Big Board: The 3D projection table operated by Dr. Carter. It provides useful Info Dumps. Lampshaded by Cage praising the stunning presentation.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On the bitter side of things, Cage, Rita, and Dr. Carter are going to be the only people who know that they and J Squad are responsible for defeating the invasion; as far as everyone else is concerned, Cage is a PR hack, J Squad is a load of misfits, Dr. Carter is a crank, and the Mimics mysteriously vanished one day. On the bright side though, the Mimics are defeated, nobody has to be vivisected, and Cage has a chance at building a relationship with Rita in peace.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The Mimics' Hive Mind and body structure are more or less completely foreign to human science, as noted by Doctor Carter.
  • Bizarre Alien Locomotion: The way the mimics move. See Everything's Better with Spinning.
  • Black Comedy: The movie's main source of humour. Cage's repeated deaths and his reactions are sometimes quite hilarious.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Inverted. The black eyes that Cage later sports in the film help him figure out where The Omega is really hiding.
  • Blackmail Backfire: General Brigham's response to Cage's unwillingness to film "acts of heroism and valor on that beach," is to demote Cage from Major to Private, labels him a deserter and a traitor, and sentences him to fight in the front lines against the Mimics.
  • "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 by a panicked "Oh yeah! I'm good." when he's clearly limping from a broken leg.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Blood is rarely shown unless 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. This makes the film a rather violent PG-13.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Rita knows that the injured Cage is better off dead/restarted, so she shoots him in the head. Unceremoniously. 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.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: When Rita finds out that Cage refuses to go on past the farmhouse stage, as she never makes it out alive, she pulls this on him to remind him that it's not just her life at stake. It works, but a little too well; come the next loop, Cage is hellbent on reaching his objective no matter the cost to himself.
  • Brick Joke: In the loop where Cage finds out that Rita had looped as well, he asks her "How many times?". Later, in the farm, when explaining that she shouldn't use the helicopter, she asks him respectively how many times did they go that farm.
  • Britain Is Only London: Unlike France (where we've got the Normandy beach and the mentioned-but-not-shown Verdun), the UK is given this treatment aside from a brief glimpse of the cliffs of Dover, though a news report at one point does mention several towns between the coast and London as the Mimics push inland.
  • Bug War: The Mimics are a Hive Mind horde of tentacled Starfish Aliens with a Fantastic Caste System.
  • 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.
  • Came Back Strong: While Cage doesn't change physically during his loops or gain new powers, Cage gradually builds up combat skills and knowledge of the future thanks to his experience of dying repeatedly. He thus ascends from an officer with no combat experience to a battle-hardened veteran.
  • Car Cushion: Exaggerated, when both Cage and Rita land side-by-side on top of the same car after falling into a crater at the Louvre.
  • The Cassandra:
    • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • 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.
  • Closest Thing We Got:
    Dr. Carter: The transponder requires a live Alpha to make it work.
    Rita: We don't need one. We got the next best thing. (pointing at Cage)
  • Combat Clairvoyance: The Movie. Whoever is in control of the time loops, can use the Ripple Effect-Proof Memory to study the enemy's every move and plan accordingly.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Rita Vrataski. After Cage takes a mimic mortar round to the chest to save Rita during one of his loops, Rita casually rips out the battery of his suit, rendering him defenseless against a Mimic emerging from the sand moments later.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Convenient Cranny: On a couple of occasions Cage escapes an Alpha this way.
  • Cool Plane: The quadcopters that deploy the troops.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: The whole plan about using the downed dropship as speed cruiser plowing through Paris in the final loop.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Some of the deaths that Cage suffers are these, though one notable one is Rita in the end. Cornered by a Mimic Alpha, it delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to her before ripping her in half.
  • Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: Cage does this briefly after his handcuffs are removed during one of his loops.
  • 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, at the cost of getting a hole on his own chest), 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.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Cage manages to become a competent soldier in the first act exclusively through memorizing attack patterns, once he makes contact with Rita she makes it clear that won't be enough and he has to do some actual Training from Hell so that he can be a One-Man Army strong enough to fight independently. Whenever we see the first time (or first dozen times) they reach a particular "checkpoint" Cage gets nervous because he doesn't know what to expect past there. After obtaining the location for the Omega, Cage remarks that they "never got that far" after Rita asks what to do next. Later, when Cage gets strapped to a gurney, Rita attempts to knife him, but stops her from doing so because he got blood transfusion.
  • Deadly Training Area: Rita's "training" room where Cage receives combat training. Once he gets crippled by one of the attacking robots, Rita kills him, so he can start the session all over again.
  • Deader Than Dead: A constant worry in the film is that if Cage doesn't reset (because he loses his power or because he's won the war), anyone who dies in that timeline will stay dead. Ends up going even further with the Omega, where by blowing it up and absorbing its power, Cage essentially kills it so hard that he and his squad never even have to go on a suicide mission to kill it.
  • Deadline News: Subverted. While Cage and Rita are driving through France, they hear a British news report about the growing failure of Operation Downfall, followed by a report that the Mimics have landed on the English southern coast. The reporter grows panicked as she says they've reached London, but Cage shoots the radio before they go off the air.
  • Deadly Dodging: "Guys, can we just not do this today?" Cage, eyes closed, pulls this on Skinner.
  • Death by Adaptation: Well... sort of. Rita never once kills Cage 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.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: The Reset Button doesn't really work if you lose over and over again on that exact, same day. The strategy of the Mimics has always been resetting time in order to adapt to one decisive battle to win. The solution is simple. Don't fight that battle. Cage, Rita, and the J Squad attacks on the night before the big battle, something that never happened before, thus something the Mimics never accounted for. And it works.
  • 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.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: A crate labeled "Vorsicht Gefahr" ("Attention Danger") can be seen in Cage's vision of the German Dam.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Happens a couple of times, as Cage tries figuring out different ways to end the cycle. One time he tried running and escaping to London, only to come across a massive invasion force later that day. Later on he became concerned for Rita's safety and tried reaching the Omega solo, it started off with someone asking if he had been drinking, and continued as he ignored the grisly deaths of his squad (which he normally tries to protect).
  • Determinator: The heroes have to have some of this in them to get as far as they do, but they also demonstrate a definite weakness that they share with the likes of General Brigham and Master Sergeant Farell: Sticking close to "Plan A" no matter how many chances they get when better solutions are staring them in the face.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Right there in the premise of the movie. Particularly the entirety of the opening, right up until Cage kills an Alpha and the loops begin. Farell and J Squad do not make any friends among the audience the first time you see them. Neither does Cage, for that matter.
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research: At one point in the film, a character yells, "Let's get that piece of bollocks!" 'Bollocks' is actually the British equivalent of 'bullshit' or 'nonsense'. Depending on where in the country you live it is also slang for testicles, which makes that line even funnier somehow.
  • 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).
    • Rita, "The Angel of Verdun", a sword-wielding, armoured woman who has become an inspirational figure for the whole army and had visions, is more than a little Joan-of-Arc-ish. Verdun is also the city that was destroyed during the longest and deadliest battle of World War I.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap:
    • How do you tell an interesting story about a man who can remember almost all possible futures? By starting every loop in the situation where he's least able to do something about them.
    • When he does learn exactly what needs to be done to win the war, how do you preserve the story's tension? Taking his power away.
  • Draw Aggro: Rita does this to an Alpha Mimic so that Cage can have enough time to reach the Omega's pool. It results in a painful death for her. It was not an unreasonable tactic, since neither of them were getting out of the Louvre alive anyways, and Cage was the one who knew exactly where to find the Omega.
  • 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, Cage gets soaked in the the blood of the Omega itself as he is dying, and the final loop 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 run over 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.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Rita, doing the "planche" hold, followed by a badass Lock and Load Montage, underscored by a Previews Pulse.
  • 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.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Several examples:
    • 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. Although it kind of makes sense, aside from Rule of Cool, in that she wants to get as much momentum behind her sword before it connects. And when she's leaping midair, the fastest way to do that is through spinning.
    • The omega's core consists of a spinning sphere, probably representing the Hive Mind's brain.
    • Mimic projectiles (called "Javelins") also spin through the air as they fly. Though in this case everything is worse with spinning.
  • Excuse Plot: Lampshaded by Cage. He overhears some bar patrons discussing what the Mimics want with the Earth, and he simply gives a sharp "What difference does it make?" in reply and proceeds to point out that they were there and attacking and that was all that mattered.
  • Facial Horror: Cage's face starts melting once splattered in Mimic blood. And then the loop begins...
  • Failure Montage: Combined with Death Montage for Black Comedy. Wake up, get trained, get injured, Boom, Headshot!, wake up, get trained, make it to battlefield, Yet Another Stupid Death, wake up, get trained, get injured, Boom, Headshot!, wake up, Boom, Headshot!, wake up...
  • 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.
  • Feed It a Bomb: How Cage ends up killing the Omega.
  • Feminist Fantasy: Rita.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Rita doesn't take to Cage at first, but changes her mind after he stops being a jerk and starts kicking ass. In an interesting variant on the trope, the whole "fire-forged" bit is entirely one-sided towards Cage, simply because Rita never remembers him after each subsequent reset while Cage builds up months or even years of memories of fighting alongside her. This means that her liking him more and more as time goes on has nothing to do with her warming to him, but instead comes down to him being a better and more likable person each time she meets him for the "first time".
  • Fish out of Water: Cage, when being thrown into battle, unskilled and unprepared as he was. However, through numerous iterations, he gets to master the art of war.
  • Forced Tutorial / Unskippable Cutscene: In-universe. Cage has to go through the military base scene every time he resets. He has to learn to fight if he has any hope of getting out of the reset. Some of his later iterations of the recruitment dialogue are very reminiscent of someone trying to impatiently rush through a cutscene conversation as quickly as possible. Cage's Speedrun on the battlefield also counts.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Pretty much everything Sergeant Farell 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 badass.
    • 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...!
    Cage: There's a dead guy in it.
  • Genre Mashup:
    • Groundhog Day, WWII movies, Alien Invasion, and Power Armor tropes were thrown together in a blender to make this movie. Several reviewers noted that, while specific elements of the film are hardly original, if not outright derivative, they really work well together and the result is greater than the sum of its parts.
    • 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.)
  • 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 Farell the truth. The scene immediately cuts to Farell'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.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Rita has one scar on her forehead which underpins her badass status, but doesn't spoil her beauty.
  • 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: Every time 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.
  • Greek Letter Ranks: The alien Mimics have three biological castes. The basic foot-soldiers are just called Mimics. The Alphas are the commanders, and are also capable of sending their memories into the past should they die. And the Omega is the supreme leader of the entire Hive Mind, and possesses a time-reset ability similar to the Alphas.
  • Green Rocks: The blood of Alpha and Omega Mimics has magical time reversing power.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The premise. Unlike the Trope Namer film, the phenomenon is given an explanation.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Inverted. Cage primarily shoots while Rita frequently uses a BFS.
  • 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. The only way to actually beat them is to kill the Omega.
  • Hellish Copter: Cage stalls into giving Rita the helicopter keys because he knows it's going down.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Rita and Cage don't use helmets much. Rita does it because she wants to get the looping power back and a helmet would deflect the splash, Cage does it because he wants any head wounds he receives to be lethal — bleeding out wouldn't cause him to loop. 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.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing: Cage manages to give everything the slip one day, grab a motorcycle and go to a bar — undoubtedly wanting a day off. This ends up plot important because he learns that each day when the invasion fails, the mimics plow on through to London.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Cage undergoes a few.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Several during the climax. Two wounded soldiers stay behind to give Cage an opening while he and Rita make their way towards the Omega, and Rita distracts an Alpha — and finally, Cage knows diving into the Omega's pool is a one-way trip.
  • History Repeats:
    • 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, also the site of a major, months-long battle in World War I which was itself intended as a Defensive Feint Trap by the Central Powers to "bleed France white" and ended up as 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. It's implied that part of her Shell-Shocked Veteran status is down to trying and failing to save a friend (possibly a lover) hundreds of times and failing repeatedly, and that she only "won" after she stopped trying to save him. This is what leads to her own decision to sacrifice herself in the same loop where it's discussed, in an attempt to force Cage forward and make him understand that she's expendable if it means victory.
  • 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 Soviet invasion of Manchuria coupled with the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki prompting Japan to surrender.
  • 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.
  • Homage: The Americanization of Emily, in which James Garner plays a combat-avoiding Navy staff officer forced by an admiral to go to the D-Day invasion to film acts of heroism. James Garner even returns to England to a pub scene just as Cage does. Also, Emily is reluctant to get emotionally close because of all the deaths (of relatives) she has experienced, similar to Rita (played by Emily Blunt) being likewise reluctant because of all the deaths (of Cage).
  • 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: The exact reasons Cage (and previously Rita) was able to absorb the time reset power of the alpha mimic is not understood. The Ignored Expert, Dr. Carter, muses that they might not be accustomed to humanity, but that's as far as the film gets on that subject.
  • Hypocritical Humor: After Cage and Rita help themselves to the minivan, its radio can be heard advising people that if they're in a vehicle, to lock doors and stay inside. They've already ripped off the doors, and shortly after Cage rips a hole in the roof and sticks his upper body outside in order to blast a Mimic.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • After they manage to retrieve the Omega tracking device, Cage and Rita engage in a dangerous car chase while he attempts to use it, which ultimately results in him losing his "Groundhog Day" Loop power. They could have used the device in the General's office since they had him at gunpoint and no interruptions were forthcoming, at which point Rita could have shot him to do a reset and the entire mess would have been avoided.
    • Firmly held by the Omega. Optimal response to any surprise, especially an assault on their only truly critical location, should be to kill off an Alpha ASAP and stop the assault before it can develop. Instead they just try to fight them off normally.
  • 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 speech.
    • Rita dies at the farmhouse no matter what Cage tries.
  • Indy Ploy:
    • A couple of times Cage is asked what the plan is and admits he has no idea what happens next as he's never gotten this far.
    • Everything in the final loop is more or less an indy ploy, since Cage never before did any of those things and there is a lot of improvisation after crash-landing in Paris.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Instant Death Everything except for a car crash. There are a lot of situations where it's essentially pure luck that Cage is instantly killed rather than lying wounded and either bleeding out or being moved to a medical facility when there's no one around to Mercy Kill him.
  • Ironic Name: Operation Downfall, a massive D-Day-style assault to crush the Mimics turns out to signal humanity's downfall no matter how many times Cage tries to change it.
  • 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 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.
  • Karma Houdini: General Brigham gets no punishment for attempting to get Cage killed in a Uriah Gambit at the beginning of the movie, or for vivisecting Rita during her loops, unless you count the off-screen times that Rita shoots him for not cooperating. Of course, at the end of the movie those events never happened.
  • Key Under the Doormat: Conveniently, Rita finds the keys to the minivan above the driver's side sun visor. Apparently, they checked every single car in previous iterations before stumbling upon this one.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Happens so many times.
  • Last Stand: During the climax, two members of J Squad are injured and hold off the attacking Mimics. When they run out of ammunition, they blow themselves and several advancing Mimics up rather than be mauled to death.
  • Lighter and Softer: MUCH more so than the original book, which had an incredibly depressing and inconclusive ending, in contrast to the movie's Everybody Lives one. Also, in the book the mimics not only kill people and destroy stuff, but irreversibly poison the land and water sources everywhere they go, making them seem more like a plague than an army.
  • Lock and Load Montage: Rita's next scene after her introduction.
  • Lonely at the Top: At first, it seems that Rita's earned her "Full Metal Bitch" nickname more through her aggressively frosty demeanor 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.
  • Lured into a Trap: The Mimic Hive Mind presents an enemy with a chance to beat it in one decisive action. The enemy spends loads of time and resources in pursuing this opportunity—but in the end, they discover far too late that it is a trap. The Hive Mind destroys the enemy in one fell swoop. The Mimics are about to play this scenario out during Operation Downfall—except Cage ultimately subverts it by accidentally acquiring their Reset Button power.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Both Cage and Rita have this in spades.
  • Maybe Ever After: Cage seeks out Rita one last time after the final reset, but the film ends before we see what becomes of them.
  • Meaningful Name: Cage. As in caught in a time loop. "William Cage" is also a rough westernisation of the original protagonist's name "Kiriya Keiji".
  • Mental Time Travel: The primary object traveling back in time is information.
  • 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.
  • Mind Screw: The "Groundhog Day" Loop is initially disorienting to Cage and the audience.
  • Mildly Military:
    • 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. ROTC is often treated as a joke by enlisted members of the military, and often screams "pogue" if it's mentioned. This is subverted when Cage points out that he is an officer in the US Army, so Bingham, being a British general, is not actually his superior. When Brigham reveals that Cage's CO had approved his transfer beforehand, he resorts to blackmail.
    • 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.
    • There is actually some Fridge Brilliance here in how mildly military the film is. This war has gone on a while and the best soldiers are probably lying dead in Europe. The whole point of the combat armor was to make it so any chump off the street could be battle ready.
  • 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.
  • 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 it being completely undamaged. The J Squad's plane also smashes through the triumphal arch of the Carrousel and the Louvre Pyramid.
  • More Dakka: The "jackets" are 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 and detaches each barrel-cluster once that section of the ammo is depleted. The other shoulder-mount appears to have a 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.
  • Multinational Team:
    • Alien invasion unites mankind's armed forces into forming the United Defence Force.
    • J Squad is a smaller version of this, consisting of American, Australian, British, and Swedish soldiers.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: "You're an American." — "No, sir. I'm from Kentucky."
  • Mythology Gag: Lots.
    • 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 if they cannot correctly pronounce "Keiji." 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 axe, which is 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 axe.
    • "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 the language on his "jacket" to Japanese. Cage's character was originally Japanese.
    • Rita's unofficial nickname is the "Full Metal Bitch", the same as in the novel. Every time someone tries to says it in the film, they are cut off—usually by Rita.
    • One of the early news reports mentions the origin of the Mimic name, which is the same reasoning mentioned in the book.
    • An extremely important character development scene takes place as Cage and Rita are waiting for coffee to brew, albeit inside the farmhouse rather than in the sky lounge.
    • In the novel, Keiji attracts Rita's attention in most of the loops by catching her eye during a P.T. session involving an "Iso Pushup". In the film, Cage escapes his unit during a P.T. session by baiting the Sergeant into ordering pushups, then meets Rita in the shooting range while she is doing a yoga pushup pose.
    • In the middle of the film, Cage sneaks out of the base to take a drink in a presumably safe place, only to realize that hordes of Mimics are coming through the water. In the novel, Keiji sneaks out of the base as soon as he realizes he is in a timeloop—only to be killed in a seemingly safe place by Mimics hiding underwater. Both instances have an appropriate Oh, Crap! moment.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • The doctor that gives Cage a blood transfusion unwittingly causes him to lose his time-looping power, which nearly dooms humanity.
    • This is subverted with Rita; it is even an important plot point. The film implies that bleeding out would have the same effect as a blood transfusion. Rita hated how the combat medics inadvertently robbed her of the reset power, but if she had been left to bleed out, she would have lost her ability along with her life—permanently. Being "out" also prevented Rita from falling into the Omega's trap, which likely would have worked because she was unaware of the blood consequences at the time. Both scenarios would have led to humanity's Game Over. Her teaching Cage the "number one rule" saved him when he fell for the trap and stopped the Alpha from 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—grants him the "Groundhog Day" Loop power, which makes victory against the Mimics a possibility. It helps that Cage is positioned near the only other person who had previously possessed that power.
    • Gen. Brigham is positioned as an antagonistic character, representing unbridled power with no responsibility. But if he had not abused his power and sent the untrained Cage into battle, mankind would have lost the war. His Uriah Gambit saved the world.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In an early loop, Cage saves Rita's life. She "thanks" him by taking his suit's power pack to replace her damaged one. Cage is rather annoyed despite the fact he has 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. The "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. Rita has other ideas. No one objects to this.
  • 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 that she is 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. Cage assumes Rita is dead until she turns up moments later, so the nurse actually meant, "Sorry, but I can't tell you."
  • Not with the Safety on, You Won't: This is name-checked directly when an untrained Cage tries to get out of combat by saying he might accidentally hurt someone with his "jacket". Cage is initially stuck in a locked armor, with attempts at removing the safety going hilariously wrong. When he gets a second chance, he soon learns the proper method.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • The French countryside is nothing but empty highways and abandoned homes with no one in sight. The film offers no clues as to what happened to the people here during the Mimic invasion.
    • The individual iterations Cage experiences. Eventually, the movie strips out every other iteration and goes with the latest one. The scary part is the reminder of how many times Cage experiences the same situation. For example, when he talks to the General in his room, he remembers every single detail, down to even the secretary. When he finally gets to a new point in the conversation, he breaks out into a cold sweat.
  • Now or Never Kiss: Between Cage and Rita, during the suicide mission to kill the Omega under the Louvre.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: When he goes to see General Brigham, this is the first time for the viewers, but Cage knows way too much, and tells Rita not to shoot him again.
  • Offhand Backhand: When Cage finally stays alive long enough to get to Rita, he kills several Mimics without even looking at them. This tips her off to the fact 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 want, at least compared to the United Defense Force. Somewhat justified, given that they have lived through World War II and relay stories of their war veteran fathers and uncles.
  • 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.
  • Only 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.
  • The Only One: Cage and Rita are the only people with extensive knowledge of how the Mimics work—and the only people who have ever been equipped with the Reset Button needed to combat them. As such, they are the only people that can effectively fight the aliens. Subverted after Cage loses the power in the same way Rita did and he is unable to achieve victory on his own: He enlists the help of J Squad to end the Mimic scourge once and for all. Of course, it helps that he has become a legitimate badass by that point.
  • Out of Continues: Rita lost her looping power, but Cage gains it. Cage loses it in the final loop as well, but manages to kill the Omega, which results in the Mimics running Out of Continues after he absorbs the Omega's looping power to the point where the Omega is already dead when things loop back one final time.
  • Pedestrian Crushes Car: When Cage and Rita steal a car from General Brigham's headquarters, they run into a redcap guard in Powered Armor who stops their vehicle with one smash of his exoskeleton's fists.
  • Physical Fitness Punishment: J Squad has to do extra push-ups for Cage's misconduct. This is a relatively common military occurrence in Real Life.
  • 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 an Alpha Mimic's blood. When they are gravely injured and administered a blood transfusion, they lose it. It is also implied that slowly bleeding to death would cause them to lose the power. The Mimics try that on Cage; he kills himself before it can play out.
  • Powered Armor: The foremost selling point of the film was the "jacket" military armor worn by the characters, an armored exoskeleton armed with a gamut of weapons ranging from wrist machine guns to a Shoulder Cannon, as well as giving them added durability and super strength. The beginning of the film has an advertisement that the Jackets are designed to turn any individual soldier into a One-Man Army with a minimal amount of training. Notably this is a close approximation of real life powered armors in development (one struggle being limited battery life and most require a direct power tether, the movie makes a point that the Jacket batteries have a limited operational period).
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The filmmakers made several alterations to the original story All You Need Is Kill so a Japanese light novel could become into a Hollywood action blockbuster:
    • Because film is a visual medium, the appearance of the Mimics was changed to look more intimidating than the long-tailed frog-like creatures described in the original story.
    • The "jackets" are open exoskeletons that show the actors; they replace the full-body suits described in the novel. In the novel, the Mimics have lethal nanobot "blood"—hence the need for full-body suits. This was written out thanks to the change to the "jackets".
    • To cut down on exposition so the story could fit in a two-hour timeframe, the movie streamlined the biology and social structure of the Mimics. For the same reason, the film adds a third character who knows about the timeloop and provides quick exposition about the Mimics. In the novel, only the protagonists know what is happening to them, so they must figure out how to break the cycle all by themselves.
    • The film also changed a number of cultural touchstones to make the story and characters more identifiable to Western audiences:
      • The protagonists became British and American rather than Japanese.
      • The historical allusions were changed mostly 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 does a lot of growing up in a brief amount of time—to a sleazy middle-aged media-man who undergoes a redemption arc. This approach allowed the filmmakers to secure both a large budget and Cruise's star power; some sly jokes at the expense of his somewhat chequered reputation were a bonus. It also let them sell the surreal premise of the story to the studio by showing parallels with the beloved time-travel comedy Groundhog Day.
  • Pre-emptive Declaration: Cage can predict events because he lived through them numerous times. E.g., he tells General Brigham in advance that his phone will ring and who is on the other end. And that the secretary will enter the room to hand him documents for review.
  • Previews Pulse: Sound effect right after Rita's establishing Lock and Load Montage when she walks out onto the airbase escorted by her skullhead squad.
  • Pre War Civilian Career: Major Cage was an advertising executive, but his fir folded when the war broke out, leading him to switch to recruitment to fight the mimics.
  • That Poor Car: Car alarms are heard across Paris after the Omega is destroyed.
  • Race Lift: Several.
    • The protagonist was changed from Japanese to American: Keiji Kiriya to William Cage.
    • MSg Farell went from Brazilian-Japanese to being from Kentucky.
    • Rita went from being American (and a red head) to being British.
    • Rita's assistant goes from a Native American to a British man, as well.
  • Rage Helm: Rita's squad decorate their helmets with skulls.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: J Squad, of course.
  • Railroading: Lampshaded. Cage remarks he's being "railroaded" as all his attempts at avoiding being shipped to the frontline are thwarted.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • 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. Cage's punishment was overkill, sure, but he was asking for it.
    • What does Cage get for trying to convince his squad that he is 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 says that he will 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.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Soldier Griff sports a pink bathrobe when off-duty.
  • Red Herring: The vision of the Omega hiding inside a dam in Germany turns out to be a ruse.
  • Refusal of the Call: Cage initially tries this after he finds out about his time-looping powers. He then resigns himself to the call once Rita starts training him. He finally accepts the call at the peak of his character development.
  • Relationship Reset Button: In the second-to-last loop, Cage and Rita share a single kiss right before they die. Then the loop resets, the aliens are defeated, and Cage is the only one who remembers what happened. The movie ends just as he meets her again.
  • Reset Button: The Mimics have weaponized this—and, by accident, so has Cage. By the end of the movie, a larger one undoes every major human death in the film.
  • Reset Button Suicide Mission: The film plays with this extensively. It's made clear early on that only Cage remembers each cycle, and he MUST die each day in order to repeat the cycle and eventually destroy the Omega Mimic. As a result every mission he takes is either a training exercise (where he is eventually killed, either by a Mimic in battle or by Rita to instigate the next cycle) or an exploratory mission to get closer to their goal (still dying with each step). Near the end, he gains the vital information needed to destroy the Omega but ends up losing the ability to reset. He then leads a team to finish the Omega once and for all, with them dying to the last man. But by killing and absorbing the blood of the Omega, Cage loops back two days, with the Omega retroactively dead as a result. This was unexpected, but leads to a Happy Ending.
  • Ret Gone: Because Cage absorbs the Omega's power as it dies, he never has to kill it in the first place. When time restarts to the day before the loop originally did, the Omega is already dead.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: The ability to remember what happened during the previous loop gave the Mimics an edge over their human foes. Cage accidentally acquires that power and turns it against the aliens.
  • Rousing Speech: Sgt. Farell has a recurring one before Operation Downfall thanks to Cage's time looping.
  • Running Gag:
    • The constant Curse Cut Short whenever anyone tries to say Rita's...less flattering nickname.
    • Rita shooting Cage in the head.
    • Kimmel being squashed by a falling plane.
    • Cage's weird yelping death scream. It becomes a very Black Comedy Brick Joke when it shows up again as he makes his Heroic Sacrifice.
    • 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, such as when the team is trying to reach the dam in Germany. 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 Louvre.
  • Save Scumming: Cage essentially does this with the live-die-repeat loops. Also, Rita could do this up until she was injured and had some of her blood replaced, which removed the power. Additionally, the Omega automatically does this when an Alpha dies so it can adapt to whatever the humans do. The original light novel was inspired by one of the author's friends describing this very trope to him, and it shows.
  • Secret Stab Wound: Rita reveals a severe bullet wound as they stand by the helicopter. Cue the After Action Patchup scene at the farmhouse.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Generally the premise of the film, but done in a different approach. Early on Cage dedicates himself primarily to protect his squad from their brutally swift fates early in the big battle, but one person cannot change that outcome. Loosing the ability to reset would only allow the Mimics to have control over it again, and so even if they somehow win that battle the next encounter the Mimics will be have the reset power again and roll over them. So their goal is targeting the Hive Mind itself in the short timespan they have.
  • A Shared Suffering: Cage has Fire-Forged Friends to draw him closer to Rita, but since she only knows Cage for two days at most, this trope is likely what draws her to Cage, despite her struggling against it. Only one other person in the world even believes her, and he has no idea what it is like to die—and see your friends die—over and over.
  • Shoot the Dog: During the loop where Cage is shot in the chest, Rita takes his battery pack, because it is apparent that his wound is fatal, and she will get more use out of it than he will. By that point, however, she is pretty numb to losing comrades anyway. The film later implies that she was intentionally trying to kill an Alpha, then absorb the alien's blood so she could regain her time-looping power and locate the Omega with Carter's help, thus ensuring her own survival no matter the cost. This was the only available option for her until she found out about Cage.
  • 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.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Cage pulls out an awesome (and loud) shotgun during the climactic battle. He fires it twice.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When the dropship 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 The Matrix Reloaded.
    • Saving Private Ryan is all over the Normandy invasion.
    • Rita's Embarrassing Nickname is an obvious reference to Full Metal Jacket — and possibly Full Metal Panic! as well.
    • One of the soldiers in J Squad is named after B.F. Skinner of pigeon superstition and operant conditioning chamber fame.
    • Mildly Military soldiers fighting Aliens, especially given the presence of Bill Paxton.
    • During the opening news montage, one of the locations Cage speaks from is the NORAD War Room from WarGames.
    • Tom Cruise fights an alien with an axe and killing another one using hand grenades can bring one to mind of his role in War of the Worlds.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Cage implies that not only is Iris in a relationship with Brigham, but that they also have a son who Brigham sent as far away from the fighting as possible.
  • Slide Attack: Cage can be seen doing this on a couple of occasions on the beach.
  • Soldiers at the Rear: Cage desperately wanted to stay one. He shouldn't have tried to blackmail General Brigham.
  • Spanner in the Works: The Mimic invasion would have gone off without a hitch if not for a PR hack getting splattered on with Alpha blood on the battle field.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Rita does not survive to the end in the original light novel because the time-loop and the Mimics work differently; this leads to a plot twist that the film does not have. Ironically, she only dies once in the light novel, whereas she dies multiple times in the film.
  • Speedrun: This is what Cage uses his resets to create—first in trying to find a way off Normandy, and later to break into Whitehall.
  • Spreading Disaster Map Graphic: The map in the opening montage shows how the alien invasion spread across Europe.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: From what viewers see of London, the Brits seem rather nonchalant about having a horde of aliens right across the Channel.
  • Stock Footage: Attentive viewers might recognize some of the meteor footage as a dashcam recording of the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor.
  • Stray Shots Strike Nothing: Averted during the scene in which Cage trains with Rita in the target range for the first time: If you look closely in the background, you will see soldiers reacting to Cage's gunfire when it ricochets off the floor after he attempts to take down one of the spinning targets.
  • Suggestive Collision: Cage and Rita roll off a Car Cushion to escape falling debris, Rita ending on top of Cage. As per this trope, they have their Last Kiss shortly after.
  • Superhuman Transfusion: Cage gains the ability to reset time when blood from an Alpha Mimic enters his system. The power cannot be transferred, however, and it is lost if someone has to undergo a blood transfusion.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: Just as Cage is about to reintroduce himself to Rita, cue the credits with John Newman singing "I need to know now, know now, can you love me again?"
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: Cage, leading a Suicide Mission in which Everyone Dies, kills the Omega in a Taking You with Me moment. He also absorbs some of the Omega's blood, which means he wakes up the day before the mission, when he was riding on a helicopter to Whitehall—just before Brigham sent him to the front lines. Not only does Cage avoid his demotion to private, he now lives in a timeline where the entire Mimic force has been disabled because of the death of the Omega that happened before Operation Downfall. One of the writers stated the trope was enforced because when they chose to focus on the comedy, "it needed to end in a way that wasn't harsh".
  • Swiss Cheese Security: The obvious explanation for J squad's unauthorized and yet unchallenged departure from the airbase in a quadcopter at night.
  • Take a Third Option: This is a frequent natural consequence of being able to try every possible option. Cage ultimately realizes that the invasion will be a bloodbath, the UK will be overrun, Rita will die no matter what, and taking out the Omega at Curnera will not happen—so he needs to destroy the Omega before the invasion takes place. He loses his time travel powers by that point, but he has amassed enough combat experience and expertise to make a run at a Reset Button Suicide Mission.
  • 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 the mine is pointed in the right direction, more Mimics will bite the dust than the one soldier lost. Cage resorts to this when the Alpha attacks him, which is how he becomes exposed to the blood that ultimately lets him loop.
    • During the climax, two injured members of J Squad detonate a bomb that kills themselves and several advancing Mimics to give Cage and Rita an opening.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Kimmel yelling "We made it!" shortly before being killed by a falling transport. This eventually turns into a Running Gag, and Cage tries his hand at preventing the death a few times (with varying degrees of success).
    • Rita mentioning that she'd forgotten to unhook the trailer is prompting an alien to jump right out of it.
    • Upon leaving Whitehall, Cage mentions how easy it was to get the device from General Brigham. The next moment, he and Rita are ambushed in front of the building.
  • That Wasn't a Request: General Brigham makes it clear that Cage's assignment to join the first wave was not an offer.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Cage dies so many times that it is impossible to keep track, which is by design. Several of his deaths—including his being hit by a car a few times and various times when he is given a Boom, Headshot! by Rita—are Played for Laughs.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Cage asks Rita why they avoid telling General Bingham what is happening. Rita says she already tried it countless times; she was usually thrown in the psych ward, except for the one time they believed her—and vivisected her.
  • 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 Farell'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.
  • Three-Point Landing: Cage when dropped off at the beach on the third iteration.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: One of the movie's posters shows the Louvre on fire.
  • 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, and the fate of mankind hangs in the balance.
  • Tricked Out Time: After destroying the Omega, Cage is covered in its blood and goes back... to the day before the one of the loop. With the Omega already dead!
  • Trust Password: Rita had prepared herself to find someone who had a similar power. When she and Cage first officially meet and see him fighting by memory, tells him to "Come see me when you wake up" right before they both die again. When he manages to reach her, he says "You told me to come see you when I woke up" and she immediately knows what is happening to him. In later loops she seemingly withheld some information for the sole purpose of sharing it with Cage so he can convince herself in the next loop to be more trusting, specifically revealing her middle name is Rose.
  • Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: The Omega detector is one of these. Dr. Carter notes that even though it was finished, they never tested it out, which does bother Cage somewhat. Rita "helps" him go through with the testing procedure anyway.
  • Unorthodox Reload: The powered exoskeletons allow the user to reload their arm-mounted machine guns by jamming an arm into a mechanism built into the suit where a gun holster would be.
  • Uriah Gambit: The film begins with Cage first attempting to desert the military—a crime with steep penalties under military law as it—then stupidly pointing out to General Brigham that he is a potential threat to the General's reputation if left alive. Brigham promptly demotes Cage and puts him in a front-line combat unit with no training and a fake backstory guaranteed to alienate his squadmates, essentially ensuring that he will be killed the next day.
  • War Is Glorious: Sgt. Farell's humble opinion.
  • 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. The movie makes note how brutal and bleak war is at several different points.
  • We Have Been Researching Phlebotinum for Years: As alluded to by Rita and later explained by Dr. Carter, Cage was not the first person who was struck with his peculiar condition. They had been researching the phenomena for some time already.
  • Wham Line:
    • "Come and find me when you wake up."
    • "You can do this. You can. You keep coming here every day and I'll train you." — "You already have."
  • Wham Shot: When we see Cage regain consciousness after a car crash, the movie shows a packet of blood from his perspective. That transfusion means he can no longer loop.
  • What Year Is It?: Cage asks Sgt. Farell what day it is at the beginning of the first loop.
  • Where It All Began: Following the suicide mission, the movie just goes back to where it started, with Cage on a helicopter on the way to London - only this time the Mimics have already died. Chris McQuarrie said they went for this because "comedies generally have to go back to the way things were".
  • Word Salad Title: Edge of Tomorrow was often promoted by the descriptive tagline Live Die Repeat after the film hit home video. Ironically, the original Light Novel itself had an odd title: All You Need Is Kill.
  • Workplace-Acquired Abilities: Cage's background as a PR guy comes in handy towards the end.
  • 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 Fight Fate: While the entire premise regards Screw Destiny, the loops mostly show that In Spite of a Nail, some things will repeat every time Cage goes back.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Humans who reset absolutely cannot 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 disbelieved or 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. This ends up being subverted by the end, as they instead attack the Louve the night before the doomed invasion attempt, and succeeding in their mission creates a reset two days back, preventing the need for the Normandy invasion altogether.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Cage's efforts to tell his story are quite fruitless at first. Near the end of the movie, he manages to get J Squad's members to believe him.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Cage finally makes it to the dam, ready to destroy the Omega—only to find that it was never actually there.
  • Zerg Rush: This is the only tactic used by humans or aliens—although the Mimics have effective anti-aircraft fire on the beach and around the Louvre, though no AA units are seen, and they are unable to stop one helicopter flying from Normandy to Germany. Since the whole dam affair was part of the trap, it is likely to assume that the Omega simply let him get this far.


Alternative Title(s): Live Die Repeat, All You Need Is Kill

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