In Edge of Tomorrow, Tom Cruise Repeatedly Restakes His Claim As An American Treasure.

Tom Cruise — America's favorite Running Man — stars alongside Emily Blunt in the explosive new white-knuckle action-adventure Edge of Tomorrow, based on the universally acclaimed Japanese novel All You Need is Kill.

And, boy, does he ever shine bright.

Here, Cruise fills the role of Cage, an advisor for the U.S. Army who gets duped into fighting in a war against an alien race called the Mimics that's quickly wiping out humans — and pretty much everything else on Earth, too. And on Cage's very first day in battle, something incredibly awful happens — something that makes him repeat that same dreaded doomsday over and over and over and over until he meets up with super soldier Rita (Blunt) and learns that he must die, in various very painful ways, every day until the two can find the source of this Groundhog Day-like phenomenon and possibly win the war.

It's a solid premise, sure. But, more than that, it's the first film in recent memory where Tom Cruise plays a serious role while still having balls to the wall fun at the same time.

Bullets fly, bodies get crushed and Cruise gets thrown around like a rag doll, left and right. In the process, it outdoes most of Cruise's past work. With Edge of Tomorrow, the actor recreates himself and steps on the gas full throttle while never breaking concentration when getting his ass kicked or when kicking ass.

Surely, the story itself helps in that regard. Cage isn't your ordinary hero; rather, he's a coward, a man who'd rather convince someone else to fight in the war than fight in the war himself. But, over time, he transforms into a Full Metal Badass — all the while reminding us that Cruise still has all the right moves.

He has to, really. The aliens aren't the only problem in this scenario. Planet Earth in Edge of Tomorrow is quite terrifying on the whole: Director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) and his team of special effects artists have built a post-apocalyptic world where no place is safe and Paris' only light comes from the moon and the fires flickering ominously destroyed cars. And just when all seems secure, the Mimics are right around the corner, ready to ravage their prey with sharp-taloned tentacles that spin like the Tasmanian Devil and ferociously rip through anything that gets in their path. Humanity's main defense against this enemy? Powerful and crushing robot suits that shoot bullets, lift cars and blow up aliens when aliens need to be blown up. But even that technology has its flaws.

Kind of like Cruise' public persona. It's almost tragic: In recent years, audiences seem to have written off Tom Cruise films, arguing that the star is crazy. Which, OK, maybe he is. But who cares? A movie shouldn't be written off because its star jumped around on a couch and confessed his love for a woman to Oprah. A movie should be judged on the caliber of its technical, storytelling and performance values — not because an actor said something foolish in his or her personal life.

And make no mistake: Edge of Tomorrow is very much a high-caliber offering. Granted, it's a time travel movie, which means there are a few plot holes here and there. But, for the most part, it's the rare film that goes for broke and says to hell with the headaches that time travel hoopla can create. It connects the dots as much as it has to, and gloriously fills the rest of the running time with what it needs to be a great summer blockbuster. There's suspense, there's action and, when it calls for it, there's humor in spades.

It's the perfect Cruise vehicle. And, coupled with the film's impressive visuals, its high-flying stunts and a powerful performance from Blunt as a woman struggling with her humanity at the forefront of battle, it just plain works. From start to finish.

Tom Cruise is back, folks. Edge of Tomorrow is the first blockbuster of the year worth its weight in promotion.

Edge of Tomorrow opens everywhere June 6.

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