Edge of Tomorrow ★★★★½

For those who like their science fiction fast, fun, and smart, Doug Liman's "Edge of Tomorrow" is a treat. A slam-bang near-future epic, Liman's film boasts a natural, buoyant sense of humor, a hint of braininess, and a direct line to the sensibilities of any frustrated gamer. It is a wholly appealing genre spectacle.

Beginning with the invasion of Earth by killer aliens dubbed mimics, "Edge of Tomorrow" focuses on Tom Cruise's military relations man busted down and into battle with the mimics in one last-ditch assault by humankind. Cruise's in-no-way-fight-ready soldier is killed, but, for his character and the film, his death is just the beginning. From there, the narrative provides timeline resets, jump starts, and intelligent action thrills.

Liman continues to progress as an action director; here, his style is controlled and efficient. Eschewing the slap-dash movement of his Bourne picture, this effort finds Liman crafting exhilarating action beats and allowing characters' personalities to bubble to the surface. The film's crackling energy is painted with appropriately sodden visuals, and the alien agressors and human military might are effectively rendered.

Cruise is spirited and soulful as the film's put-upon protagonist. He and Emily Blunt make a sturdy, likable pair, Blunt cutting a solid heroine who outmatches any comers. Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, and the rest of the cast sell the film's earnest yet subtly jovial tone with ease.

Constructed like a video game played by unskilled players who get a little better with each turn, "Edge of Tomorrow" generates a slightly cheeky, near-meta undercurrent of energy to its experience. This may not make up for true thematic depth but, coupled with the film's other narrative delights, it makes the film stand out where it could have labored under the weight of token action plot points. It enhances the piece, altogether.

For those who like their science fiction fast, fun, and smart, Doug Liman's "Edge of Tomorrow" is a treat. A slam-bang near-future epic, Liman's film boasts a natural, buoyant sense of humor, a hint of braininess, and a direct line to the sensibilities of any frustrated gamer. It is a wholly appealing genre spectacle.


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