"Groundhog Day" Meets "Starship Troopers" in Cruise SF Flick "Edge of Tomorrow"

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Edge of Tomorrow on Blu-ray

I love a good time travel flick, and Doug Liman's "Edge of Tomorrow" qualifies. The unique twist this Tom Cruise vehicle has going for it is the method used for for time traveling, and the restrictions put in place upon it. Specifically, Cruise's character can only ever go back in time to a specific moment -- and to get there, he has to die.

In this future setting, Cruise is a military media relations officer named Cage who gets conscripted into actual combat a day before a crucial invasion against an alien enemy that has taken over much of Europe. During the battle, he gets killed by one of the larger aliens -- and wakes up back at the camp at the moment of his conscription, replaying all the events that lead up to the moment of his death. Making different choices with each replay, Cage comes into contact with Rita (Emily Blunt), a military hero who helped defeat the aliens in another battle -- because, at that time, she had the power that he now has. As Cage dies repeatedly, he trains to be a better fighter, and the movie largely shows him having to repeat life as though he were speedrunning a videogame.

On the face of it, this sounds like it could quickly get boring. It does not. From start to finish, it remains intriguing, engaging, and altogether fascinating. As fine as Cruise and Blunt are in this film, I should also note that Bill Paxton (Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) delivers an almost chameleon-like performance as Master Sergeant Farell. I didn't recognize him for the first few times we see him.

This Blu-ray / DVD/ Digital combo release from Warner Brothers includes a number of bonus features, including deleted scenes and some in-depth making-of featurettes, such as a look at how the exo-suits were developed and how the actors trained to function inside them. There's also a nice bit about how the aliens were created, letting the story needs drive the design process.

This is a film that is going to get rewatched at least as many times as Cage's story gets reset. It meshes together the best parts of "Groundhog Day" and "Starship Troopers," and I heartily recommend it to science fiction fans.

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0