As some of you may remember, a few months back I reviewed Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s light novel All You Need is Kill and bloody loved it. I also mentioned in the review that some Hollywood types had bought the movie rights to it, and were looking to make a film of the book starring Scientologist nutjob Tom Cruise as the protagonist Keiji Kiriya.
Well now the studio concerned (Warner Bros.) have released a release date, and a plot synopsis of their film. And it worries me. The synopsis, not the release date! If you’ve not read the book yet and are planning to, then you might not want to read after the jump, because there will be spoilers…
The synopsis (as reported by /Film) is as follows
The story unfolds in a near future in which a hive-like alien race, called Mimics, have hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, shredding great cities to rubble and leaving millions of human casualties in their wake. No army in the world can match the speed, brutality or seeming prescience of the weaponized Mimic fighters or their telepathic commanders. But now the world’s armies have joined forces for a last stand offensive against the alien horde, with no second chances.
Lt. Col. Bill Cage (Cruise) is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously demoted and then dropped—untrained and ill-equipped—into what amounts to little more than a suicide mission. Cage is killed within minutes, managing to take an Alpha down with him. But, impossibly, he awakens back at the beginning of the same hellish day, and is forced to fight and die again…and again. Direct physical contact with the alien has thrown him into a time loop—dooming him to live out the same brutal combat over and over.
But with each pass, Cage becomes tougher, smarter, and able to engage the Mimics with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Blunt), who has lain waste to more Mimics than anyone on Earth. As Cage and Rita take the fight to the aliens, each repeated battle becomes an opportunity to find the key to annihilating the alien invaders and saving the Earth.
First and most obviously, they’ve changed the protagonists name (fairly obvious they were going to do this. Expect American audiences to pay to see a film about a Japanese character? Pah!). Ok, I can live with that. But then it appears they’ve promoted him, then demoted him for purposes of the story. This stinks. One of the major themes running through the novel is Keiji’s inexperience; he’s a wet-behind-the-ears recruit with zero combat experience, and only a loss grasp on the whole ‘war’ thing. Following his progression from this panicky rookie into an ice-cold killing machine is quite a large part of the book (and shows that even the most brutal and harrowing of experiences can become mundane if repeated often enough). Ok, so this Cage character (I like the reference to Keiji’s nickname at the end of the book, given to him by the US Special Forces because they mispronounce his actual name) is clearly an officer graduate, but still, he’s not the raw recruit that I feel the story needs.
The rest of the synopsis drops in key elements – Rita, the Alpha, etc – and is innocuous enough. It seems to hint at Cage and Rita spending more time together than they do in the novel, and a shift in perspective for Cage, from survival to saving the Earth (which of course he must do, he’s Tom Cruise!), but until more details are released, I can only pessimistically speculate.
I’m excited to see this film because I really loved the book, but I dislike Tom Cruise quite a lot, and Hollywood has a habit of destroying good stories when they make their moving pictures, but you never know, I could be wrong. It has happened before!
Well, expect more negative updates from me as more details emerge between now and March 14th 2013…
EDIT: The original /Film article also has details of other actors starring in it and stuff like that!