It’s no coincidence that “Edge of Tomorrow” hit movie screens on the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The movie opens with a not too distant future all-or-nothing allied assault on France. Only this time it’s not heavily entrenched Germans we face but rather a seemingly indestructible alien race known as the Mimics. They’re horrifyingly original multi-tentacled amphibian-like monsters that roll over, under and through land and water alike with incredible speed and attack with great ferocity.
Major William Cage (Tom Cruise), a fast talking officer with no combat experience, gets himself on the bad side of a British General (Brendan Gleeson) and thrown into this awesome fray. As expected, he doesn’t survive long. However, he then finds himself stuck in a time loop a la “Groundhog Day” in which he’s forced to relive the events leading to his death until he can survive. He encounters a famed female warrior dubbed the Angel of Verdun (a combat buff Emily Blunt) who may hold the key to his plight.
Cruise perfectly fits another of his bread-and-butter roles as an intolerably selfish jerk with a shot at redemption. He also gets to revisit that inept goofiness that made him so endearing in his breakout role in “Risky Business.” One of the movie’s biggest surprises and greatest assets is the often laugh out loud comedy in its first third as Cage blunders through his predicament, often to the consternation of Master Sergeant Farell. Bill Paxton steals every scene he’s in as this mustachioed proud Kentuckian and brings the house down with his reaction to one of Cage’s failed maneuvers.
Co-writer Christopher McQuarrie, the writer-director of the smart and suspenseful Cruise film “Jack Reacher, triumphs again with this adaptation of Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel “All You Need Is Kill.” The “Groundhog Day” element and the weak and rudimentary opening with a broadcast news montage and some cheesy images reminiscent of “Starship Troopers” are the only parts of the story that seem familiar or derivative. This clever script teamed with Doug Liman’s (“The Bourne Identity”) direction and some unexpected performances turn a possible same-old-been-there-done-that sci-fi flick into a must-see highly enjoyable pre-summer adventure.