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'Edge of Tomorrow' review: How to train your reset button

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Edge of Tomorrow

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"Edge of Tomorrow" was released in conventional, 3D, and IMAX theaters starting today.

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An alien invasion has taken over nearly all of Western Europe by an alien race known as "Mimics." Operation: Downfall is put into effect as humans rage war against the enemy in mechanical suits known as "jackets." Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is forced into combat with no experience, thrown into a jacket with no training, and placed on the battlefield all because General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) wanted their success to be caught on camera.

The mimics expected the attack all along as the battle is a complete massacre. Cage is still able to kill a larger mimic, which soaks him in its blood and allows Cage to repeat the same day over and over every time he dies. A well-trained soldier named Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) with many victories under her belt is Cage's answer to discovering not only what has happened to him but also the only hope of ending this war.

Besides "The Last Samurai" and "Collateral," Tom Cruise films have always seemed to come up short in some capacity. Perhaps closest to "Oblivion" and "Minority Report" in genre and tone, "Edge of Tomorrow" is just a damn good movie that is exactly the type of explosive entertainment to get the summer season started.

The jackets in the film will immediately remind you of the Power Loader Ripley uses in "Aliens," which seems like a fair assessment to make since Bill Paxton appears in "Edge of Tomorrow" as the humorous Master Sergeant Farell. There's this immediate sensation of cinematic deja vu with "Edge of Tomorrow" that seems to channel "District 9" and "Groundhog Day," but then the film branches off into more intelligent territory as it adds more detail and depth to its repertoire.

The explanation of how the mimics function and the execution of repeating the same day over and over again is where the film really reels you in and surpasses common cinematic fodder. The mimics are like a central nervous system with an alpha and an omega that is like the brain of the entire species. Cage stumbles onto the power when he kills an alpha. Their only means of winning the war is to wait until Cage begins having visions of where the omega is located, which allows the mimics to locate Cage and regain their ability to control time.

In addition to its engrossing storyline, "Edge of Tomorrow" is absolutely phenomenal when it comes to its action sequences. That first battle sequence on the beach is extraordinary. There is so much going on that you still feel like you miss something even after seeing Cage relive that moment countless times in the film. The trailer sequence with Cage and Rita driving in a van is also exceptionally raw, gritty, and dangerously combustible.

One hindrance standing in the way of making this film an absolutely perfect experience is the way that it's filmed. The camera trembles during moments when a steady camera seems so necessary. The mimics may also be something that grinds your gears. Their design is similar to something you'd see out of "Transformers" and they move so fast that it's difficult for your eyes to process just how it is they move. They tumble at any means necessary and become this unstoppable force that tramples through anything in its path, which almost seems like a metaphor for the film itself.

"Edge of Tomorrow" contains intense, pulse-racing action that takes your breath away. The science fiction film is non-stop excitement that never lets up during its nearly two hour duration that goes by in the blink of an eye. Imagine getting really far in a video game with no save points, but then you die after getting farther than you ever have before. You have to start all over repeatedly; that's essentially this film in a nutshell. "Edge of Tomorrow" is the best science fiction film to come along since "District 9" and is what "Battle: Los Angeles" only dreamed of being.

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