Review of All You Need is Kill

I was 13 years old in 1993 when Groundhog Day was released in theaters. 5 years later, I started writing a looping screenplay of my own called “Breeze Way”. In 2009, Hiroshi Sakurazaka published All You Need is Kill, a looping war action drama, which was released as Edge of Tomorrow in 2014.

I was so excited when I first saw the trailer. I was like, “Yes, Groundhog Day meets War of the Worlds – starring Tom Cruise!”, but when I found out it was based on a book, I was like, “I can’t wait, I’m just going to read it.” I ended up reading it in one evening and found it very riveting. The ending of the book is much different than the movie, but I won’t ruin it here. There are no spoilers in this post.

Quotes from All You Need is Kill

The book is, at times, more insightful than the movie (emphasis mine):

What if someone who had the potential to discover a formula to unlock the mysteries of the universe wanted to become a pulp fiction writer? What if someone who had the potential to create unparalleled gastronomic delicacies had his heart set on civil engineering? There is what we desire to do, and what we are able to do. When those two things don’t coincide, which path should we pursue to find happiness?

This one covers talent vs. deliberate practice and self improvement:

I didn’t possess any extraordinary talents that set me apart from my peers. I was just a soldier. There were things I could do, and things I couldn’t. If I practiced, in time I could change some of those things I couldn’t do into things I could.”

There are some technical explanations for how the looping is happening, which the author, Sakurazaka, attempts to explain and wrap up the story, but I found them a little bit of a stretch. However, it’s much more of an explanation than what you get from Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day.

The ‘Science’ from All You Need is Kill

In the book, the alien fighters use “tachyons”, theoretical particles that can travel faster than the speed of light, to travel backwards in time. Tachyons were also used in Watchmen (2009) where Dr. Manhattan’s ability to see into the future is blocked by tachyons generated by Adrian Veidt. In All You Need is Kill (2009), alien terraformers use tachyon pulses to send information back to themselves to win a battle.

Tachyons Research in Reality

In 2012 the Higgs Boson particle was confirmed, which is a particle in “tachyon condensation” meaning it is in a quantum field with “imaginary mass” (whatever that means). In 2011, before the Higgs Boson particle was confirmed, scientists theorized that Higgs “singlets” may be traveling back in time and sabotaging the discovery. I guess that wasn’t happening since they were able to discover it eventually, but who knows?