'Edge of Tomorrow' features Tom Cruise's best performance in some time

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

'Edge' has a few too many time loops, but stars Cruise and Emily Blunt do well as soldiers fighting alien invaders.

David James/Warner Bros. Pictures/AP
'Edge of Tomorrow' stars Tom Cruise.

“Edge of Tomorrow” is like “Groundhog Day” except it’s about gigantic spidery alien invaders and it stars Tom Cruise clomping around in an 85-pound exoskeleton. 

Let me explain. Cruise plays Major William Cage, a military PR officer who is unwillingly recruited into a hopeless combat mission against the marauders. Killed almost immediately, he finds himself thrown inside a time loop that has him repeatedly fighting, and dying in, the same attack. Each time out, though, he survives a bit longer because he is savvier about the onslaught.

How many times can he expire and be resurrected before he exits the loop and defeats the aliens? And will Cruise end up tipping over from all that hardware?

Based on an illustrated Japanese novella and directed by Doug Liman from a screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, “Edge of Tomorrow” has a few too many time loops for my taste. It took a while to get the hang of the “Groundhog Day” concept, but once I did, I didn’t especially look forward to the serial spin-cycle convolutions. The film’s relentless clangor is assaultive. 

Cruise is better than he’s been in a while because he damps down his usual all-intensity-all-the-time MO. He’s best here when his character seems the most scared. And Emily Blunt as a commando legend is indomitable, a credit to her exoskeleton. Grade: B- (Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material.)

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