What if Groundhog’s Day took place in the middle of a war with aliens and you didn’t even get to play with a cute groundhog day after day? This movie is different where in that one Bill Murray’s character only tried to kill himself a few times and even if he made it through the day alive, he still woke up to Sonny & Cher. Here there is a time travel element and the day starts only over after death. If you actually make it through a day alive, it will continue. You just have to survive since there is that pesky war going on with aliens.
Tom Cruise stars as a Major William Cage in the Army but he’s really a PR guy who makes the rounds on talk shows telling everyone that the world is really winning a war against these aliens because they have these super cool suits that can basically make any idiot into a decent soldier with no training. When Cage pisses off the wrong guy, he is dumped in the front lines even though he has never seen a day of combat before. He dies immediately, but then realizes he is caught in some kind of time loop. He comes across Emily Blunt’s character, Rita, who has been a poster child for the war as a super awesome soldier. It turns out that she has been stuck in the same time loop as him before, but lost it. She is helpful in training him and explaining how things work in a timely fashion so we don’t have to spend too much time watching him figure it out himself.
That does keep the movie moving along at a nice pace. One thing to worry about with any day repeating is you might get bored watching the same thing performed slightly differently over and over again, but there are enough changes and forward progress throughout that it keeps your attention. It is also nice to see Tom Cruise play a guy who is fumbling around and scared instead of someone who is automatically really awesome at what he is supposed to be doing. Emily Blunt is excellent as well. While I really liked that she was the one that was being held up as the super soldier, I had almost wished we were watching the movie from her point of view while she figured out why the time travel was happening or if her role had been reversed with Cruise’s character. I basically wanted more of her.
Of course, since the main leads were a man and a woman, there is one brief moment of cornball kissing towards the end. It was really unnecessary. I’m all for people making out in movies if it makes sense, but it really didn’t fit with the rest of this movie. It wouldn’t have suffered any if it didn’t happen, but it was so quick, that it was easy to move on. The ending was pretty forgettable and didn’t make too much sense, but I enjoyed the rest of the movie up until that part so it didn’t bug me too much. I chalked it up to action movies usually just end in some big, dumb way so this one lived up to that expectation. The rest of it pleasantly surprised me.