For all of his lunacy Tom Cruise can consistently pick good scripts.
Now the first impression I think we all had about this film was that it was Starship Troopers in Groundhog Day. And it is just that. Only it’s the good parts of the great novel Starship Troopers (nothing from that abomination of a film) and the better parts of Groundhog Day without all the draggy repetition.
The story takes place in a not too distant future where an alien presence known as Mimics (they’re kind of giant killer squids) has taken over Europe and pushed humans off the continent. Tom Cruise is US ArmyMajor William Cage in public relations who runs afoul of a arrogant British General who frames him as an enlisted deserter to ensure he dies in the upcoming invasion of France. However, while the invasion fails (due to the Mimic’s ability to move through time and learn from their mistakes), Cage accidentally comes in contact with one of the Mimic’s blood and finds himself caught up in their ability to loop through time. With the help of Sgt. Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), who has previously gone through the same loop they set out to kill the core of the Mimic invasion.
The film balances action, humor, the emotional relationship between Cage and Rita while keeping the tension of the plot moving forward.
The film is a rare bit of talented directing from Doug Liman (the idiot who gave us Jumper andthe disgrace that was The Bourne Identity, I still don’t understand how you have Bourne yet write out the villain of the story). One of the best parts of the film, which does deserve all the Groundhog Day comparisons you can heap on it, doesn’t fall into the problem of Groundhog Day where a scene is carried on far too many times. I don’t know if it’s simply because after Groundhog Day (or the numerous versions that have been done on TV shows since) they correctly assumed that audiences were familiar with the idea of the repetition, or if they just edited it well, but the film never gets bogged down in showing you scenes over and over again. It respects you as a viewer enough to jump into a scene and know that if Cage is going through the situation competently that he has done it time and time again already.
Now while the film doesn’t get into the deeper levels of thought that Groundhog Day did, we do see the Cage character grow and go through the full range of emotions in the order an actual person would. The film keeps your attention and you will enjoy it completely.
I give it 4.5 out of 5.