Grade: B

Directed by Doug Liman
Starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton

After seeing Groundhog Day the first time I remember thinking how great it'd be to live the same day over and over again and all of the experiences you'd get to have without having to deal with regrets. Then I saw Edge of Tomorrow and realized not all repeating-days are the same. Tom Cruise is at his best in this sci-fi take on the idea that reliving the same day can be rewarding in the end, but not without putting up a fight.

It's been just over a year since Cruise's last sci-fi film, Oblivion, but the two films are vastly different. Oblivion was a spectacle of Apple product proportions. It had its flaws, but its style was interesting enough to allow you to look past the flaws. Plus, the clever twist gave it an extra special punch. Edge of Tomorrow, however, relies on the realistic feelings of a world being taken over by an alien race. What really works here is the fact that director Doug Liman doesn't feel obligated to overly explain anything, giving the film a serious undertone that just makes it all make sense, even if we have no idea how this "war" started or what's really at stake.

Cruise stars as Maj. William Cage, a military PR officer who has no practical experience on the battlefield. That all changes when he is arrested and put in with a group of misfit soldiers sent out into the front lines. In this day and age (we're never told exactly how far in the future we are) soldiers wear these incredible armored suits that look intimidating and uncomfortable at the same time. Have you ever had those dreams where you want to run really fast but something is keeping your legs from moving? I'm pretty sure it's these machines that are doing the restricting. Cage dies pretty much in the first few seconds of the battle, but wakes up in shackles back at the beginning of the entire chapter. He's confused, to say the least. When everything goes in order to how they previously went, he starts to catch on. The time loop then becomes his friend, as does a soldier named Rita Vrataski, played with fierce sidekickness by Emily Blunt.

There's not much more to Edge of Tomorrow except for the harrowing action sequences and exciting special effects. Cruise is at his Cruise-iest, showing exactly why he's still part of that species known as a "movie star", while Blunt continues to fashion herself as a modern day movie star in her own right. Director Liman doesn't necessarily deliver anything new here, but he does allow us to escape the summer movie slums of overdone story-lines and overseen action sequences. In all of its action movie-ness, Edge of Tomorrow feels refreshing.

Despite being based on a manga series, Edge of Tomorrow works almost like a video game movie. Perhaps it's the best video game movie we've ever been given, even though it's not based on a video game. It's the type of movie the Transformers franchise wishes it could be. It's smart. It has classic Cruise charm. It takes itself just serious enough to allow you to take it seriously. It's a fun time at the theater.

Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 113 minutes

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