If last week saw the best blockbuster of the summer season so far with X-Men, then this is undoubtedly up there – and definitely gets the award for the most surprising.
There’s no denying Tom Cruise’s stock has fallen in the past few years, but this gripping sci-fi adventure shouldn’t suffer because of it – despite it hitting the big screen without a lot of fanfare.
The Cruiser still rolls out some good performances – more recently with M-I: Ghost Protocol and Jack Reacher – and in the cleverly conceived Edge of Tomorrow proves A) he’s still got a screen presence, and B) it’s far better than the underwhelming Oblivion.
Cruise stars as pencil-pushing Major Cage – a PR man who has never seen a day of combat – who gets dropped into what amounts to a ‘suicide’ mission against an unrelenting alien assault (who have advanced throughout Europe), after a row with General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) in London.
But after killing one of the master versions of these (quite impressively created) multi-tentacle burrowing aliens (known as ‘mimics’), he finds himself in a time-loop forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over again on the banks of Normandy.
Fortunately an elite Special Forces agent – played by Brit starlet Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) who shows she can now lead a major film – has had these mysterious powers transferred to her before, and tells Cage to find her every time he comes back from the dead, so she can train him and find a way to destroy them.
And why this Groundhog Day scenario might sound tediously preposterous to some, it’s done in such a refreshingly ingenious way – particularly when he gets ‘one over’ his squad, or its Master Sergeant Farell (Aliens’ Bill Paxton) – with clever editing, and a sharp witty script, it ends up undoubtedly being one of the best action films in the past few years.
Throw in well-acted and likeable performances all-round – led by an engaging camaraderie between Cruise and Blunt – and one of the best alien races seen on the big screen since erm, Alien, then this, for the most part, is genuinely compelling stuff.
The third act does end up being a bit predictable compared to the cleverness that goes before it, but The Bourne Identity director Doug Liman really does a very commendable job that deserves immense praise – especially as it puts a smile on your face during the impressive comic relief.
More importantly, Cruise shows he can still provide edge-of-your-seat thrills – and shoulder the responsibility of a blockbuster – in a movie that should be seen today, or at the very least, by tomorrow.
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Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Noah Taylor & Jonas Armstrong
Running Time: 1hr 55mins
Director: Doug Liman [youtube id=”yUmSVcttXnI” width=”600″ height=”350″]