Tom Cruise plays Major William Cage, an officer used to in front of a camera rather than in the front lines. He is forced to join in combat against the invading alien race and is killed in the mission, though he “wakes up” to find himself in a time loop, repeating the battle in which he dies over and over again. It’s a military, sci-fi Groundhog Day with fewer jokes but buffer bodies. Cage teams up with Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) to improve his fighting skills so that he may live long enough on battle day to defeat the alien invaders.
I liked this so much more than I was supposed to. It’s an action-y-science-fiction-y movie that should appeal to Assholes like Sean, not Assholes like me. But it did. Probably because Emily Blunt is so fantastic, beautiful and feminine and tough as hell and totally believable as a feted warrior. And because for once, Cruise portrays this inept guy who has to be trained and guided by a woman in order to become the soldier they need him to be. It’s probably the most feminist action flick made in years. Or ever.
The movie is really cool to watch. The special effects contribute to a video game feel (and now that I mention it, I guess the constant re-levelling of the characters might have something to do with that too). The editing is pretty brilliant: the battle scene is overwhelming and unrelenting and although Cruise and Blunt relive it many times, it never feels as repetitive as it should. Actually, I felt moved and heartbroken by how much of their lives were spent on a mission no one would ever credit them for.
I mentioned earlier that this movie had fewer jokes than Groundhog day, and I stand by that statement, but this movie is not without its own brand of (dark) humour. And maybe we’re also slightly laughing at Tom Cruise, perma-action-hero, who in this one, has to take the back seat. It’s a war action movie that doesn’t glorify war. It’s got more storyline than weaponry. It feels like effort has been made, and for me, someone who doesn’t appreciate “cool” explosions for no apparent reason, this was a clever gem in the genre. It made me remember why Tom Cruise is a movie star and realize that Emily Blunt is just at the start of an amazing career.