We all know exactly what to expect from a Tom Cruise movie, right? The man seemingly built in a Hollywood lab to be the perfect movie star waltzes in, quips a few quips, smiles that smile and saves the day. Like. Clockwork.
Of course he does all this in Edge of Tomorrow, or Live Die Repeat, or whatever Warner Bros have decided to call it, but the fact it remains such a fantastic film is a testament to everything else around its leading man.
Most Cruise movies are all about him, but Edge of Tomorrow is about the whole, and it is a GREAT whole. The concept, while not wholly original, is fun, there is enthusiastic support from Brendan Gleeson and Bill Paxton, the set pieces are memorable, the alien threat unique, the tone has just the right level of humour and then, of course, there's Emily Blunt.
Doug Liman's latest picture also – initially at least – gets Cruise to play something other than an all-American hero with a chiselled-jaw. At the start he's a coward, an army Major from the public affairs wing who attempts to weasel his way out of duty on the front lines as the world succumbs to an invading alien force.
Disgraced and arrested, Cruise's William Cage wakes up at an army base to find he'll be fighting the good fight – a final push into Europe with deliberate and overt connotations of D-Day – whether he likes it or not.
He doesn't last long on the beaches of France, but the manner of his death sends him into a time-loop, reliving the day following each death, which he soon learns must be exploited to win the war.
Groundhog Day and Starship Troopers are clear influences, but the biggest influence is that of video games. "Live Die Repeat" is essentially the mantra of any Call of Duty player, each death bringing with it a little more knowledge and skill to make it further next time.
That's a key part of the plot and key to Cruise's character, which makes his inevitable transformation into classic Tom Cruise action hero mode understandable. Cruise is good in the film, as he is in pretty much everything, but only touches upon greatness when he plays against type early on in genuinely funny scenes.
It's a good thing then that Emily Blunt is there every step to steal the show from under Cruise. A proper, badass female action hero, Blunt's Rita is given a good character, making her far more than just eye candy. Blunt is perfectly cast as the experienced war vet who leads Cruise's character through the escalating action, and is represented as Cruise's equal every step of the way.
Edge of Tomorrow is a brilliant summer blockbuster that sadly didn't get the recognition it deserved upon its initial release. Now available on Blu Ray and DVD it can make up some lost ground and shake lose the "box office bomb" tag it doesn't deserve.
Tom Cruise's latest is his best in years and is guaranteed to become a cult classic in years to come.