It’s pretty easy to make fun of Tom Cruise – especially with the whole couch -jumping incident and his Scientology issues, but he actually can act. He’s also in two of the better recent science fiction films I’d seen: Oblivion, and* Edge of Tomorrow*.

Edge of Tomorrow suffered from a lot of issues at the studio level. No-one seemed to have any idea how to market it, and the Japanese short-novel the concept was borrowed from had an even less descriptive title (All You Need is Kill).  It almost seemed that the tag line “Live, Die, Repeat” was the name of the movie, and you could be forgiven for thinking that looking at the posters. What you get is Groundhog Day as sci-fi action shootemup, and a damn smart one at that. For all of the other marketing failures, the tagline and the trailers promised us that, and the movie delivered in spades.

Cruise plays Bill Cage, a PR flack, and something of a coward, who ends up dropping into a D-Day style invasion of France to push back an alien invasion. Everything comes apart, but he manages to kill one alien before dying….

… and wakes up, the day before. He’s literally stuck in a time loop, going back to the same point every time he dies.

The movie manages to play with the idea of trying, over and over again, trying to convince people the invasion will fail, to find a way past the invasion point, find the center of alien power, and disable it, with both a dark and deft sense of humor as needed. The action is over the top but true to character and the tone of the film, the armor worn in many of the scenes feels like something that could have stepped out of Warhammer 40K.

And at the end, Cage grows as a person, having to face his cowardice at a moment he really could lose it all.

Update – I’ve followed up with more thoughts on this movie here.