With his newest outing as the ultimate action star, Tom (Collateral, Top Gun) Cruise proves that he really cannot make a bad film. Despite a poorly-written script riddled with numerous plot holes, director Doug (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The Bourne Identity) Liman crafts a unique and action-packed thriller that is one part Groundhog's Day, one part Aliens, with a little bit of both War of the Worlds and Saving Private Ryan for good measure. If you enjoyed any of these films individually, you will like this one. But if you are proud to say that you enjoy all of these films, this might just be the summer blockbuster you have been waiting years to see.
A back-and-forth time-travel romp with a few unique twists and turns thrown in to keep even the most clever audience members guessing set the stage for Cruise's newest vehicle to box office success. Proving that even when given a lackluster script, he can rise to the occasion, our hero does so without missing a beat. Starting off as a borderline unlikable military deserter, he slowly but surely wins the audience (and his fellow platoon) over by learning, adapting, and becoming the ultimate not only soldier, but tactician. Added star power comes in the form of beautiful but forgettable Emily (The Devil Wears Prada, The Adjustment Bureau) Blunt, perfectly-cast and channeling his inner drill sergeant Bill (Twister, Frailty), and the always-excellent, but often-times underused Brendan (Braveheart, Troy) Gleeson.
The special effects are up to today's ever-increasing standard, the creatures themselves being only a minor highlight in an overall well-done futuristic war movie. The director has proven time and again that he is capable of maintaining a premise for an entire length of a film, and this one is no exception to that already stellar record. But if truth be told, as with the past several dozen action films on his resume, the true star here is Tom Cruise. The man can do no wrong. And though he has a bit more of a challenge this go-around, he takes it with stride, uses it, and makes it his own. This movie is exactly what it sets out to be: Fun.