Eppler: 'Edge of Tomorrow' is the first big surprise of the summer

Reported by: James Eppler
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Updated: 6/09/2014 10:00 am

"Edge of Tomorrow" is about as close to a video game as anything I've seen on screen including movies based on games. It features huge action set pieces, a character trying to defeat a giant monster, and every time he dies he just gets to start over.

But hang on - this isn't just some mindless summer movie 3D action extravaganza. "Edge of Tomorrow" has a smart screenplay loaded with surprises, and it's a well-made picture with some outstanding cinematography. 

In the future, Earth is overrun with aliens called "Mimics." Tom Cruise is an army sergeant who does PR, never seeing combat, until he's demoted to Private and thrown into action.

The film's key set piece is an invasion on a French beach that reminds one of Normandy. And it's ironic this movie was released on the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

It's thrilling action, and when Cruise is killed, he wakes up to repeat the day before. Finding he can do this an infinite number of times, he discovers a fellow warrior who's been through the same thing. That's Emily Blunt, fantastic as a soldier who knows Cruise's power is the key to winning the war. So she decides to train him. And it takes a lot of tries.

Cruise is great playing against type as a reluctant hero, and I love Blunt's dead-pan delivery with a hint of heart.

Director Doug Liman knows how to spin your head around with swirling action, and the IMAX 3D presentation is jaw-dropping at times. The movie's twist ending doesn't make much sense and stinks of studio tinkering, but "Edge of Tomorrow" is still the most fun I've had at the movies so far this year.

EPPLER'S RATING: * * * 1/2

Out of five stars

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