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'Edge of Tomorrow' features Tom Cruise's best performance in some time

'Edge' has a few too many time loops, but stars Cruise and Emily Blunt do well as soldiers fighting alien invaders.

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'Edge of Tomorrow' stars Tom Cruise.

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“Edge of Tomorrow” is like “Groundhog Day” except it’s about gigantic spidery alien invaders and it stars Tom Cruise clomping around in an 85-pound exoskeleton. 

Let me explain. Cruise plays Major William Cage, a military PR officer who is unwillingly recruited into a hopeless combat mission against the marauders. Killed almost immediately, he finds himself thrown inside a time loop that has him repeatedly fighting, and dying in, the same attack. Each time out, though, he survives a bit longer because he is savvier about the onslaught.

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How many times can he expire and be resurrected before he exits the loop and defeats the aliens? And will Cruise end up tipping over from all that hardware?

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Based on an illustrated Japanese novella and directed by Doug Liman from a screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, “Edge of Tomorrow” has a few too many time loops for my taste. It took a while to get the hang of the “Groundhog Day” concept, but once I did, I didn’t especially look forward to the serial spin-cycle convolutions. The film’s relentless clangor is assaultive. 

Cruise is better than he’s been in a while because he damps down his usual all-intensity-all-the-time MO. He’s best here when his character seems the most scared. And Emily Blunt as a commando legend is indomitable, a credit to her exoskeleton. Grade: B- (Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material.)