A surprisingly well thought out action sci-fi with exciting visuals and fun moments of all out shoot ’em up battles to keep the adrenaline pumping. The repeating of time itself is a story arc that actually doesn’t get tiresome, as the Groundhog Day style of it all features fresh ways to kick back to the start of the loop again.
The plot sees our planet devastated by aliens called Mimics and the only hope against them has been in the use of Exo suits. Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is not a fighting man but after a meeting with a no nonsense man called General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) he ends up being forced to take part in the front line for a mission on the beaches of France. There he winds up receiving this power to relive the same day over and over and with this gift/curse he strikes a chord with the Full Metal Bitch/Rita (Emily Blunt) as they attempt to find the brain of the Mimics and kill it.
I didn’t know what to expect after seeing the trailer, I knew I wanted to see it but I honestly did not expect too much. Wow is a word I shall use to say how pleasantly surprised I was by how good this film is. To start, the story itself is clever and the timey wimey design of the plot is suitably achieved and doesn’t get too bogged down. It in fact becomes fun as they try and kill Tom Cruise in different ways to get him back to the start again. The racing edits as we are thrown back into the midst of Major Cage’s struggle to survive are pacy and brilliant. It has that premonition style as Cage needs to try and sell to make others believe he’s not crazy and a handful of misfits in J Squad are the perfect ‘Alien’ like team to help him out. The story of this sight handed to Cage, by his dying links to the introduction of the kick-ass Rita and their shared bond becomes interesting as they try to use tactics and war like training to get further and further each time.
The look of the movie is fascinating and especially on the big ol’ IMAX screen it sometimes takes the breath away. I believe that the visuals make the film what it is as we see some incredible shots of drop-ships fly past the White Cliffs of Dover, the assault on the beaches that brings a new alien threat dynamic akin to the famous scene in ‘Saving Private Ryan’. Then there is the style of the aliens themselves and these Mimics are nasty looking blighters. Honestly production teams and designers must know that people have an innate fear of spiders and use that to craft aliens that look that way. I mean in ‘Godzilla’ the other monsters were spider like and these Mimics are like powerful water form spiders as they bury under the surface or swipe from hundreds of feet away. They are brilliant though and the Mimic alpha is very impressive.
This film has great casting too and though it may be only two in this movie, that I know of, there seems to be an influx of Game of Thrones actors making it to the big screen as of late, which is a great thing. Also I swear I saw Lara Pulver (Sherlock’s Irene Adler) as a face in the crowd near the end, not really a part of this review but odd how if it was her why she didn’t do more. The cast of the J squad are ragtag and brutal looking as they play cards against orders, take the mick out of Cruise and generally behave like the runt of the litter, I mean one goes literally balls out to fight and well there’s karma for that kind of thing.
Tom Cruise is pretty much Tom Cruise for the most part but his beginning roots as Cage are interesting as he starts the film as a high ranking man and a coward, the constant fear in his eyes as he realises he’s in deep are frankly on point and it’s nice to see him not being action man great straight away, this weakness is helped by a frankly hilarious moment as he tries escaping push ups. Emily Blunt is the soaring action goddess with beauty to boot as she tries assisting Cage. The drive she has is clearly insatiable as it wraps up Cage with her and they both become forces to reckon with, though that motivation of hers is something that could also be deemed a weakness as the plot progresses. Bill Paxton turns up as Master Sergeant Farrell and his supporting role is just superb. A nasty look in his face as he showcases his authority but he isn’t really the villain as he tries facing a bonkers man telling him things that haven’t happened yet.
It’s with the ending that I don’t know if it succeeded. The end is something you never really know how it’s going to be done and when you get there it feels short-lived. I also didn’t like the inevitable romantic relationship of Cage and Rita. I mean overall this film isn’t overly setting the sci-fi world alight and it is silly extreme fun to be had at the cinema but it does have moments of interest throughout and it both looks and sounds incredible, though the IMAX does try its best to take your ears off with all the gunfire blasting around you.
A fun and visually entertaining action film with science fiction elements that do enough to keep the story going. Cruise and Blunt are great leading stars and work together well to provide a popcorn flick with more enjoyment and surprise hits than expected.