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'Edge of Tomorrow' satisfies with dark humor and well-paced sci-fi action

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'Edge of Tomorrow'

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There are a few things you can gather from a list of Tom Cruise's films. Obviously, he likes being the lead man and hero who saves the day. Second, he loves doing his own stunts and getting in on the serious action. Thirdly, the guy seems to hold an affinity for science fiction.

Sprinkled throughout his career, you'll find films like "Minority Report," "War of the Worlds," "Oblivion," and even "Vanilla Sky" which touch on sci-fi and fantasy elements. The only butt he seems to like kicking more than those of international spies and government traitors are aliens. He returns to the screen right after saving the world from otherworldly invaders in "Oblivion" to meeting them on the battlefield in "Edge of Tomorrow."

Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is a military spokesman talking up the public during a world war against alien invaders. After being literally dropped into the middle of combat, he is killed almost instantaneously. Cage awakens to the harsh realization that he is trapped in a time loop and forced to die over and over again. Each time he returns from the dead, his skills are increasingly sharpened and he is one step closer to saving the world with the help of a Special Forces soldier named Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt).

Director Doug Liman ("The Bourne Identity," "Mr. and Mrs. Smith") does a great job taking Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth's action-packed script and bringing it to the big-screen with all the intensity and excitement you would expect from a sci-fi / action flick. It's well-paced and takes itself seriously while injecting elements of dark humor into the equation.

Tom Cruise is his usual lovable self and delivers a performance that reflects his love for these types of roles and movies. You can sense his enthusiasm for his work every day when he hits the set. He's a guy that acts for a living and doesn't hate a single second of it. I know many people can't stand Cruise, but you can't deny the guy's a good actor and seems to genuinely love what he does.

Emily Blunt is perfect in the role of tough-as-nails Special Forces soldier Rita Vrataski. She's the Ripley (Sigourney Weaver in the "Alien" movies) or Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff in "Battlestar Galactica") character for "Edge of Tomorrow." She definitely holds her own next to Cruise as they partner up and make their way through packs of deadly aliens.

Speaking of the aliens, I was impressed at their design. It's relatively hard to come up with an original look for a space invader these days no matter how hard you try. "Edge of Tomorrow" comes close to providing audiences with something as unique as they could in a world where there's nothing new under the sun.

A couple of questions on everyone's minds are, "Is it worth seeing in IMAX" and "Does the 3D make any difference?" My answer would be no to both. I really didn't see anything so spectacular in the IMAX or 3D experience to merit paying the extra money. The 3D is used to give the picture depth more than anything. There are those few spots where something flies out of the screen at you, but nothing too memorable.

"Edge of Tomorrow" is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive material. Cruise drops an "F" bomb, although I'm pretty sure the "ck" is cut off by an explosion. The rest of the language is pretty much what you would expect from a film that takes place in the military and on the battlefield. The battle scenes are pretty intense and I'd suggest leaving younger kids at home.

If you're thinking "Edge of Tomorrow" sounds like a science fiction mash-up of "Groundhog Day" with "Starship Troopers," you're not far off-base. Although the concept has been re-visited a few times, the movie succeeds in creating something entertaining. This is accomplished through a great cast, some humorous moments, and action that keeps the story moving forward at a smooth stride.

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