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Edge of Tomorrow (3D)


Stars: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Jonas Armstrong, Noah Taylor, Lara Pulver

Director: Doug Liman

Groundhog Day meets Independence Day. Dragooned, for some reason I didn't quite fathom, into leading a frontline invasion of Europe against an all-conquering alien horde, deskbound poster-boy Major Bill Cage (Cruise), a man with no combat experience, finds himself additionally demoted to private for attempting to blackmail an Allied general (a truculent Gleeson) into getting him off the hook.

Result: Cage is predictably wiped out within the first few minutes of the doomed attack by a force that seems to know its enemies are coming. In dying, however, Cage kills a rare alpha-alien and is drenched in its life fluid, the liquid trapping him in one of those time-loops beloved of sci-fi writers, but at the same time endowing him with the knowledge of every day that has gone before.

Each day he gets killed again, but assimilates a bit more knowledge; he also meets legendary war hero Sgt Rita Vrataski (Blunt), who has experienced a similar phenomenon, and together they evade death for longer each time; but it isn't the answer. To defeat the spidery, multi-tentacled, whiplash-fast invaders (original in concept and nastily convincing in execution), they most find their power source and destroy it.

There's all the action you'd expect from this kind of Cruise film, with the star putting in his traditional (and admirable) shift on the stunts. And the time-loop theme is sometimes amusingly used, though I confess to not quite buying the ending for reasons it would be unfair to the plot to discuss.

Acting is little more than functional, and it is in any case hardly the point; the film looks good, moves smartly and its hardware and special effects are impressively used, creating just the adrenalin rush required.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
114 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 30 May 2014