If you take the film Aliens and mash it up with the concept behind Groundhog Day, you’ll have a good sense of what this film is like. So instead of Bill Murry and Andie MacDowell with Punxsutawney Phil, we have Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt alongside a ton of soldiers and aliens fighting each other. As popcorn sci-fi action movies go, this was entertaining…
An alien force has invaded and taken over most of the planet quickly and easily, knowing everything we’re doing before we do it making it very hard to defend ourselves. The alien force in question turns out to be able to bend time and use it to their advantage when conquering a planet. Through some twists of fate, Cruise’s character comes in contact with one of the aliens during a fight and temporarily inherits the ability to reset time. As implausible as it sounds, the way it’s conveyed works in a sci-fi platform since it is after all, alien DNA that’s allowing these abilities. The story was fun to watch play out, had some lighter moments to break up the pacing and had a happy ending to wrap it up. The ending is one of my few complaints; it was too neat and unrealistically convenient when it could’ve been really interesting and dramatic, they went more pedestrian here (probably a focus group thing).
Visually, the effects are mostly pretty impressive. I say mostly because the aliens at times look very digital. When they’re moving quickly (and they move really quickly which is jarring in a welcome way), the effects are better, when they’re settled or moving slowly they lose the organic sheen that blends them into the film more naturally.
The actors are good. Cruise is convincing in his character who starts off very clumsy (initially he’s a military journalist, not a soldier) and then evolves into a streamlined fighter after he dies a few hundred times. Emily Blunt is a badass and the hero that leads the charge to bring Cruise up to speed as a badass himself. The cast includes Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton, Jonas Armstrong, Madeleine Mantock and Tony Way.
Yes, there are some serious plot holes here and there but overall it’s worth a viewing if you like sci-fi action flicks.
reviewed by Sean McKnight