ImageTom Cruise is a bona fide movie star. Any detractors that he may have should see that he’s got the looks, the charisma and the filmography to convince them otherwise. Just look at his latest film, Edge of Tomorrow, a smart and entertaining sci-fi gem that showcases Cruise at his action hero best. Think of it as Groundhog’s Day meets Saving Private Ryan with some heavy sci-fi added in for good measure. Even when the film’s script gets sloppy, Crusie and director Doug Liman keep things intriguing, engaging and surprisingly humorous.

Humanity is at war. Several years ago, an alien species invaded Earth and began to attack. These species, nicknamed Mimics, were extremely powerful, forcing humans to create weaponized equipment that soldiers wear to increase their chances of victory. Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is a spokesperson for the United Defense Force and has never seen combat. When he is informed by General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson, making the most of his too few scenes) that he needs to battle on the frontlines with the rest of the soldiers, Cage attempts to flee. He’s caught and eventually deployed with a group of soldiers in a last effort attempt to defeat the Mimics. When Cage is killed on the battlefield, he awakens to discover the previous day. Caught in a seemingly never-ending loop of death, Cage realizes that he may be the key to defeating the Mimics and fellow soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) may just have the experience to help him succeed.

Based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel All you Need is Kill (which is a much better title), Edge of Tomorrow is bound to be some of the best science fiction you’ll see all summer. In a film that is practically nothing but action from start to finish, Doug Liman is somehow able to balance everything and prevent the audience from becoming numb to the effects. Even though the audience will be living the same day over and over again, it manages to feel fresh and exciting nearly every time. The most intense moment in the film comes early on, with the soldiers dropping out of a plane, ready for battle in their weaponized suits. Just like Major Cage, we’re experiencing this battle for the first time. Reminiscent of the Battle of Normandy, it’s exciting to witness and also a little scary.

The script by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth leaves plenty of room for humor in the midst of the guns and aliens. Watching Tom Cruise get run over by vehicles only to awaken again on the previous day is darkly humorous. The smart script does begin to get lazy around the third act, placing characters into difficult situations and rescuing them in increasingly convenient ways. The third act is also where the action begins to verge on generic. The nighttime battle that serves as the films finale isn’t nearly as exciting as the storming of the beach that we watch again and again.

At a time when Hollywood seems to be obsessed with sequels, remakes and reboots, it’s great to see a sci-fi film that actually manages to live up to its original premise. Even with a script that contains some glaring problems, Edge of Tomorrow manages to be an entertaining treat that never grows redundant. Strong performances, a wicked sense of humor and energetic action sequences make this one day worth living over and over again.

Edge of Tomorrow receives 3/4

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