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'Edge of Tomorrow' review: Mash-up of other successes

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Tom Cruise + action almost always form a reliable equation to produce at least an entertaining film. “Edge of Tomorrow” is no exception; director Doug Liman (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” “Jumper,” and “The Bourne Identity”) knows how to maintain a fast pace to keep the audience’s interest. Though there is little chemistry between Cruise and Emily Blunt and the script neglects to include a complete idea, the two actors are strong enough to lead the complicated tale.

Marketing man turned military major when aliens attack Earth, Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) works as a spokesperson or press secretary to encourage moral. When dumped on the front line by General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson), Cage is labeled a deserter for refusing to go into combat. Forced into participation by Master Sergeant Farell (Bill Paxton) and his team of soldiers, Cage has no chance of survival, though neither does the rest of the military. During the ambush, Cage dies when attacked by an unusual alien but wakes to find himself, again, on the morning before the planned assault. Reliving the same couple of days again and again, Cage remembers, learns, and trains more and more in an attempt to change the outcome. Returning repeatedly to recruit star soldier Rita (Emily Blunt), referred to as the “Full Metal B****,” and Dr. Carter (Noah Taylor), Cage uses their knowledge of Rita’s similar experience to try to find the “brain” of the aliens to control not only the outcome of the human and alien war but time, as well.

Though Blunt and Cruise work as equal action stars, both could use more personal attention (where’s the exercise montage?) with less concentration on smashing and shooting robots made to act like mimics, their term for the aliens. The special effects are adequate (though the aliens look a lot like the robot sentinels in “The Matrix”), but there isn’t enough adrenaline in the action. For an action movie, the most rewarding bits of “Edge of Tomorrow” are the understated, humorous moments, such as Rita’s easy dedication to restarting the day by killing Cage.

“Source Code,” “Groundhog Day,” “Independence Day,” “Ender’s Game,” and many other popular movies appear to contribute to the plot of “Edge of Tomorrow.” The details may not be fresh, but the mash-up of a time-loop story and the hive-mind aliens manages to entertain through good pacing. Knowing what sells, “Edge of Tomorrow” maintains a high level of entertainment by catering to typical Hollywood blockbuster building blocks. Violence dotted with comedy throughout becomes a potential romance, leading to an ending that doesn’t really make much sense and is only present to follow Hollywood’s guidelines of happiness. Sure, stories involving time control are paradoxes, but nothing in the rest of the film supports the ending. Altogether, “Edge of Tomorrow” isn’t a smart film, but it has enough fun.

Rating for “Edge of Tomorrow:” B-

For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.

“Edge of Tomorrow” is still playing at most theatres in Columbus, including Arena Grand and Movie Tavern. For showtimes, click here.

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