Cruise experiences déjà vu in ‘Edge of Tomorrow’

Cage (Tom Cruise) starts out as a coward in "Edge of Tomorrow," but since he's forced to live the same day over and over again, nearly infinite training sessions from Rita (Emily Blunt) mold him into a warrior. (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, David James)

Cage (Tom Cruise) starts out as a coward in “Edge of Tomorrow,” but since he’s forced to live the same day over and over again, nearly infinite training sessions from Rita (Emily Blunt) mold him into a warrior. (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, David James)

By M. Scott Morris

Daily Journal

The quickest way to describe “Edge of Tomorrow” is to say it’s a cross between “Groundhog’s Day” and a first-person shooter video game.

Tom Cruise is Cage, a public relations man and a coward in the near future, when humans are fighting off an alien invasion.

That cowardice gets him sent to the front lines.

He’s expected to die and he does, but something strange happens when he encounters one of the aliens. It gives him the ability to wake up and relive the past day over again. It’s similar to Bill Murray in “Groundhog’s Day,” except Murray’s character relives the same day to become a better person, while Cruise’s character relives it to become a better soldier.

He’s helped along by Rita (Emily Blunt), who’s already earned her reputation as a killing machine in humanity’s fight for ultimate survival. She’s inclined to believe Cage, so she teaches him what she knows, even if he’s reluctant to learn at first. So far, it might sound like a dire science fiction film with the fate of humanity hanging in the balance, but there’s an unexpected lightness to “Edge of Tomorrow,” along with surprising humor.

One of the funniest moments is early in the film, when Cruise acts out Cage’s cowardice. The actor has cultivated a heroic image over the past 30 years, so I laughed louder than anyone in the theater as he played against that type. It looked like he was having fun with it.

The movie loses steam in the third act. I’m not going to spoil anything here, so don’t worry. I’ll just say the last 30 minutes don’t live up to what preceded them.

I’m not terribly upset about it. Cruise and Blunt make a fine team, as they battle alien invaders day after day after day after day.

And amid the comedy and the action are touching, emotional moments, where one phrase can turn a whole scene around and tell us more than expected about the characters.

“Edge of Tomorrow” delivers a lot of good stuff for science fiction fans. I give it a B plus. It’s showing at the Cinemark in Tupelo, as well as Malcos in Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville and Movie Reel 4 in New Albany.

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