Mary Conti’s review published on Letterboxd:
*Tim Riggins voice*: "Tom Cruise 4ever"
This is the kind of solid workmanlike blockbuster we should always be getting. Smart, funny but takes itself seriously where and when it needs to, keeps a consistent pace, clearly establishes both the stakes, motivations, and rules, and actually builds to an ending that lets you know the 2 hours you sat through actually matters (although the quality of THIS ending is debatable).
We have a game cast, the workmanlike Doug Liman confidently staging the film, and a solid script that knows how a popcorn movie should operate. It's refreshing to watch a movie that falls into genre territory but understands that genre doesn't exclude intelligence (and it shouldn't ever). Lots of smart Sci-fi ideas here that, while not necessarily original, are far more eloquently put to use here as a whole (looking at you Source Code).
And Tom Cruise, guys.
Listen, it's a god damn shame the public has treated this man so poorly because of his private life. He's our last true movie star. I have never seen a film Cruise has been in, even ones I've disliked, where this man is not giving 110% to the film. He's a guy who understands that in the end, it's his films that matter.
And he's great here, and really fantastic. He may not be in Tom Cruise charm mode, but he's here playing two sides of a character, one that is a wimp, and one that is war torn soldier who has seen too much shit, and it comes out great. It's the kind of performance that reminds you there's no excuse for the gruff stoic male lead when the script says otherwise. Hollywood keeps trying to make A list leads out of different actors who just aren't bred for it. Cruise has "it" in the same way Clara Bow had "it", and the same way other all time movie stars had "it".
What I'm saying is that instead of trashing Cruise for being a silly man outside of movies, we should be treasuring him.
That's real. (Copyright Cole W Bradley Productionz)