Summary: A video-game like movie; a cross between the much referred to Groundhog Day and with some Independence Day thrown in. Tom Cruise is an effortless actor, and this movie mainly works because of his genuine performance. The ending is a bit of a head scratcher, but the premise and the process is an interesting and unique one. Definitely worth the watch.
The tag line for this movie was Live.Die.Repeat. and that pretty much covers the basic plot. Directed by Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Bourne Identity, Fair Game), he shows that he has experience in directing action movies. This movie centers around a battle that is occurring in some near future time between an alien race called The Mimics and humanity. Why or why do we keep beaming our information into space when invariably the aliens who answer are not very nice? Anyway, in particular, the battle that is the center part of the action is occurring in Europe and apparently if humans don’t start winning some of these battles, it spells the end for us.
Tom Cruise plays William Cage, a non-combat major who is forced into battle as part of a major counteroffensive against the Mimics, despite having no battle experience and desperately not wanting to participate. He is forcibly assigned to a group of soldiers headed by Master Sargent Farell (Bill Paxton, Aliens, Twister). After basically zero training he is sent into battle and through the specific way he is killed he suddenly enters an infinite time loop where each time he is killed, he wakes up during this first day in boot camp and starts again. After a number of these resets, he teams up with Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt of Into the Woods, The Devil Wears Prada) who was previously stricken with the same scenario. Together they attempt to use this to their advantage in an attempt to defeat the Mimics.
The design of the aliens is very unique and unworldly. And while it might seem the action would get repetitive as Cruise relives what he is going through mostly in failure, there is enough humor, enough intelligent attempts to get further in the time loop that you continue to find the plot interesting. Rita (Blunt) offers enough authenticity to keep you caring.
As expected, there’s a potential love interest at play, but it’s actually handled very subtly. An interesting side effect of the movie is that you don’t really know how far Cage has gotten this time through the loop. You don’t know if this is his first time or 500th time to this point in the action – and the movie intelligently doesn’t let on.
The movie is fairly short (113 mins.), and thus it really gets to the action fairly quickly. It doesn’t spend a great deal of time explaining the details of the battles that lead to this one, and doesn’t provide much backstory to the Mimics. It doesn’t explain why many others have not already experienced this same situation that Cruise’s character is in – or perhaps they have? And if they have, why aren’t his non-affected humans more accepting of the situation – because they are all startled when he can seemingly predict what they’re going to say?
Paxton is a natural and as mentioned, Cruise is fun to watch professionally as much as he is not fun to watch personally. Emily Blunt is fairly cold in this one because of her experience with the time loop effect. It’s played well. Many times in movies there’s an obvious rush to get the leads together romantically (see Jurassic World review).
The only sticking point for me is the ending, which wraps up too conveniently. I don’t want to spoil the ending so I’ll only say that while it is a neat wrap up, the movie could have had a more poignant denouement had it continued where it appeared to be heading. Plus because the movie is built on some important reveals, I don’t think it’s very re-watchable.
Let me know what you thought about the ending -!
So on a scale of one Mimic to five Cruisers I give this one a 4.5 Blunts and a repeat. Definitely worth the rental.