It’s Blunt’s first action role, and she comes across as one major bad ass.
And that’s saying a lot given Cruise’s usual over-the-top performance. It’s on par with his roles in “The Color of Money” and “The Fourth Of July.”
Acting stalwarts Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson are superb here as well.
If there is any knock against the film, it’s the seemingly formulaic plot.
In fact, the movie has been unfairly called “Starship Troopers” meets “Groundhog Day.” Although it shares similarities, crisp, smartly written dialogue and terrific acting make all the difference here.
“The Usual Suspect’s” Christopher McQuarrie with Jez and John Butterworth turn in a compelling screenplay that keeps the movie hopping.
They draw from a Japanese novella “All You Need Is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazka. It uses the premise of an alien invasion to explore the military use of the fourth dimension.
Cruise plays against type as Major William Cage, a smarmy Army public relations man who is drafted, reluctantly, to cover a major invasion.
U.S. resistance forces believe the invasion will lead to final victory over an alien terror known as Mimics.
But the invasion goes horribly wrong; the Mimics are waiting. Cage manages to kill a huge Alpha Mimic before being killed himself minutes into the fighting.
Instead of dying, he finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop. He wakes up back at the base and is forced to go through the same brutal combat. Invariably he’s killed and repeats the cycle.
He tries to warn others, but Paxton and Gleeson, his skeptical commanders, ignore him. Finally, he runs into Sgt. Rita Vrataski (Blunt), a resistance fighter who is a hero from an earlier battle.
She confesses that she had the same experience. It turns out that the Mimics can control time. Cage unknowingly gained their power.
There’s no romance (ok, they kiss once), but they slowly develop into an effective team.
Cage and Vrataski learn from their loops how to fight the mimics and finally figure out a plan to destroy them.
The story may not be new, but the way it’s telegraphed makes it work.
“Edge of Tomorrow” is a sure bet to get the summer movie season off to a strong start. The film goes into wide release on Friday (June 6).
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