What a truly awesome sci-fi thriller this is. Who would of thought that after numerous alien invasion flicks, with the same boring action sequences and effects, that director Doug Liman and actor Tom Cruise could take the same sort of premise and make it fresh and exciting. The twist they have added is straight out of Harold Ramis’ “Groundhog Day”. Cruise’s main character keeps reliving the same day over and over until he can either stop the invasion or figure out how to break the cycle.
The plot is fairly standard at this point. An alien race has arrived on earth bent on destroying mankind. The people of earth have mounted a resistance. But like I said, the main character seems to be stuck in a loop where he wakes up on the day of the invasion, gets thrown in to battle and dies. But he retains his memories which give him a distinct advantage as he starts to memorize the patters of the enemy. Eventually he joins forces with other characters who understand his ability and they devise a plan that could lead to the end of the war.
Cruise plays Major William Cage. Cage isn’t much of a soldier as he is a PR guy. He makes the rounds on talk shows and news pundit programs to talk about the war and all things military. When he is unwilling thrown in to the front lines we learn just how under skilled he is. When the ships hit the beach he almost dies instantly. He wakes up the day before to the same conversations and people and is thrust in to the invasion again where he dies again. He starts to realize he is stuck in this loop. Eventually he meets Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), who seems to know what he is going through. Apparently she had this power transferred to her but it was lost when she tried to use it against the enemy.
Together they train in an attempt to know the enemies every move so they can get through the invasion and track down a specific location in which the enemy hub is hiding which if they can destroy it, then it would basically win the war. The invasion itself is an exciting, edge of your seat battle.
The screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie is fairly ingenious in the way that he manages to keep the movie interesting despite having to write the same day over and over. The characters and the dialogue are all very strong. It is a great blend of sci-fi excitement and humor. What more could we want from a big budget summer flick?
Director Doug Liman is no stranger to summer action films having directed “Mr. And Mrs. Smith” and “The Bourne Identity”. Here he takes his direction to a whole new level, seamlessly blending CGI action with a very human story. The action scenes are not a chaotic mess either. The battle is confusing to the soldiers fighting it but it is clear and easy to follow for the audience. CGI is used to create the aliens but they look terrific and blend in with the human characters perfectly.