Directed by Doug Liman
PR man William Cage dies in combat against alien invaders – and finds himself alive once more, reliving the last few hours of his life… Again and again…
Yes, it’s Groundhog Day done with a military bent, but that doesn’t stop at least the first two-thirds of this Tom Cruise vehicle from being a lot of fun. There’s a debt to a lot of older movies (including Source Code and the Aliens films) and it does feel rather like a big screen version of a video game – a criticism which could be laid at the feet of the source novel, All You Need Is Kill, rather than the film makers.
Director Doug Liman creates some epic battle and preparation sequences: there’s some humour, but underneath it all you’re never allowed to forget that the purpose of Cage/Cruise’s constant deaths and resurrections is to allow him to fight an enemy which is winning. As is so often the case, the rules of time travel are what the writers need them to be (there’s a certain conceptual similarity with the recent X-Men film, Days of Future Past, with people going back to redo things with new knowledge but the makers treat it differently) and it allows Cruise to redeem Cage as a character.
There’s not much chemistry between Cruise and Emily Blunt as a trainer who’s been through what Cage is experiencing, and has no compunction about ‘resetting’ the game, but in a film which is based on constantly throwing curves at its protagonists, that’s not necessarily as important.
The film works well on the smaller screen and without the 3D – you can take in a lot of the background detail in the fight scenes far better than in the cinema – and stands up to a repeat viewing. There’s no commentary, unfortunately, but quite a bit of detail from Liman and the production team in the extras.
Verdict: At 114 minutes, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, keeping the audience engrossed with intriguing twists. 8/10