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"Edge of Tomorrow": Tom Cruise's No Good, Very Bad, End-of-All-Life Day 

Wednesday, Jun 4 2014
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Tom Cruise dies over and over again to save the lives of billions in Edge of Tomorrow, a sturdy sci-fi extravaganza (based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka's novel All You Need Is Kill) that functions like a cross between Groundhog Day and an Xbox One title. When Cruise's combat-virgin press secretary William Cage finds himself on the battlefield during a Normandy Beach-esque campaign against invading aliens, he perishes quickly, but not before killing an extraterrestrial and gaining its ability to manipulate time. The result is that Cage continually wakes up on the same day with knowledge of the future, thereby giving him endless chances to train and strategize with the aid of legendary warrior Rita Vrataski (a stout Emily Blunt), who acquired a similar power during a prior battle. This entertaining (if somewhat clumsily explicated) trial-by-error scenario provides director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) with opportunities for both humor and suspense, as well as a number of muscular set pieces in which Cage and Vrataski, decked out in firepower-heavy mecha suits of armor, fight hordes of skittering, tentacled outer-space monsters. From faux-verité handheld cinematography and first-person POVs to the memorize-the-enemy's-patterns conceit, Edge of Tomorrow — in which Cage's success is achieved through do-overs and checkpoint-by-checkpoint progress — borrows liberally from video-games. And courtesy of a sharply honed script, frenetic but lucid direction, and a star turn by Cruise that charismatically segues from bumbling cowardice to heroic courage, it's the rare summer spectacle that, tacked-on coda notwithstanding, might actually warrant repeat viewings.

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Nick Schager

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