Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

It appears Tom Cruise has found his niche in the later stages of his career – a sci-fi action star.

Last year it was the post-apocalyptic Oblivion that established Cruise in a world of dystopia and heavy machinery, and this year, it’s Edge of Tomorrow. The film was a surprise hit in theaters in June, receiving acclaim from critics and audiences alike and racking up big bucks at the box office.

The thing about science fiction movies is you never really know too much going in. There’s flying space ships. Probably aliens. And Edge of Tomorrowtypically a lot of technological terms you won’t understand.

That’s one annoying thing about science fiction. Since it takes place in the future, a lot can be taken for granted. You have smart scientists explaining nonexistent technology at about 100 words per minute, and it’s really hard to follow. It’s an occasional problem in Edge of Tomorrow.

In the film, Tom Cruise’s character, Cage, is stuck in a time loop. Every time he dies in battle, he wakes up in the same spot he started in a day earlier. His only allies are a female soldier (Emily Blunt) and the aforementioned smart scientist (Noah Taylor).

Essentially, it’s Groundhogs Day with aliens and machine guns.

It’s a really fun movie because not only are the action sequences very entertaining, but the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously. Tom Cruise channels his inner Jerry Maguire, poking fun at himself and maintaining inside jokes with the audience throughout the movie. I say this because the only people who knows he’s reliving the day over and over is him and us. Not the other characters. So there’s a lot of humor embedded throughout playing with that dynamic.

But don’t get the idea that it’s a comedy, by any means — it’s a pure sci-fi thriller. The humor is subtle, but trust me, it’s there.

And with that entertainment you also get a fairly intelligent plot that evolves as the movie progresses. There’s a predictable love story between Cruise and Blunt as well, and scary-looking alien creatures.

The movie is a pleasant surprise because of how unexpected it was. When you hear “Tom Cruise,” “aliens” and “time loop,” then it’s probably safe to not expect a gem. But Edge of Tomorrow delivers thanks mostly to a solid screenplay portrayed nicely by Cruise and company. Also, Bill Paxton deserves a shout out for his solid performance as an army sergeant.

You’ll be confused during much of the ride, maybe even at the end, too. But, by golly, you’ll be entertained.

Watch the trailer here.

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