Monday, July 6, 2015

Edge of Tomorrow, screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, directed by Doug Liman (Village Roadshow, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment; Viz Productions)

Released June 2014

Groundhog Day meets every high-tech war movie you've seen. And, really, too violent for my tastes; I don't do war movies. My nerves don't handle the sound and images well.

But this, honestly, is very good.

Tom Cruise plays US Army public relations officer Major Cage, thus neatly dodging any anger of active combat while Earth is being invaded by aliens known as the Mimics. Earth is, by the way, losing, but a nifty new combat exoskeleton has been developed (or perfected; I do believe these are being worked on now, in real life), and the United Defense Forces win a victory at Verdun. Moral and enlistments soar.

And the UDF CIC decide Major Cage needs to be embedded, to report directly from the latest attack on the Mimics. He refuses, tries to blackmail the general, and gets unceremoniously stripped of his rank and sent off as a private to a combat unit.

The first day's assault on the beach is a disaster; the Mimics were expecting them. Cage is killed while killing a Mimic, and dies with its blood all over him.

And he wakes up in handcuffs, right before his new sergeant about to deliver him to his new unit, to go into that first day's combat again. And, as it turns out, again, and again.

After multiple repetitions, with minor variations as he tries to share his knowledge of what's coming or use it himself to change the outcome, he meets Rita, the hero of Verdun, who knows what's happening to him. She's been through it herself, until not getting killed but making it back to a field hospital resulted in a blood transfusion that ended her cycling. They join forces, together with a scientist, Dr. Carter, who has invented a weapon that will kill the main brain of the invading Mimic--if they can get it close enough.

It's high energy and action-packed the whole way. The "groundhog day" elements are well handled, and Rita and the other female soldiers are treated as simply soldiers. Rita's a for-real combat hero. While there's some attraction between her and Cage, it is never allowed to be a distraction. They're there to kill the Mimic invaders, and they're serious and professional about it.

Overall, strongly recommended.