Edge of Tomorrow is excellent summer blockbuster

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3.5 out of 4 stars

Can you die too often? If you’re Tom Cruise, you can’t.

Tom Cruise delivers his best work since 1996's "Jerry Maguire" in "Edge of Tomorrow." (Courtesy of Warner Bros.)
Tom Cruise delivers his best work since 1996’s “Jerry Maguire” in “Edge of Tomorrow.” (Courtesy of Warner Bros.)

The movie’s slogan “Live. Die. Repeat.” reveals all you need to know about Maj. William Cage, a coward turned hero in “Edge of Tomorrow,” which again shows why it’s Tom’s world and we’re just living in it so he can entertain us.

Cruise’s day is simple: He’s relieved of being the head of army propaganda, stripped of his rank, thrown in with the first wave of troops to fight a losing fight and gets killed.

Confused? Bored? Sound too much like “Groundhog Day” or “Source Code”? Don’t worry. You see, Cruise inherited a really cool super power by killing a certain kind of alien – known as a Mimic – before getting slaughtered: He starts his day over upon dying.

You know Cruise is going to die – and so does he – so the manner in which he meets his demise over and over keeps your eyes fixed to the screen. One of a science fiction movie’s downfalls is you know the main character isn’t going to die, but in “Edge of Tomorrow,” Cruise dies like it’s his job because, well, it is.

Each time Cruise gets another shot, he tries to make it farther toward accomplishing his objective: teaming with Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) – a solider who earned worldwide respect for leading troops to victory in a major battle – to kill the brain behind the Mimics. It’s like he’s in a video game with infinite lives.

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt shine in "Edge of Tomorrow." (Courtesy of Warner Bros.)
Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt shine in “Edge of Tomorrow.” (Courtesy of Warner Bros.)

Cruise’s ability to share the screen with Blunt to let her show she too can star in an action movie is just so un-Cruise like. Maybe he’s just getting old or maybe, the Scientology gods told him it’s never a bad thing to let the audience watch a hot woman kick some alien ass.

Every element of this movie is done well. The battle scenes, especially the one on the beach, are exquisite, as is the computer-generated imaging. Cruise’s character knows he’s not God’s gift to fighting and the bumps and gunshots he takes along the way make you want to cheer for him. Blunt is perfectly cast alongside of him and those pesky aliens really pop as they whiz around in 3D.

Cruise’s metamorphosis in this film – going from a wimp who is basically Don Draper selling why it’s a good idea for everyone to enlist to fight aliens in World War III instead of him to becoming a hardened warrior who saves all of mankind – is a testament to his greatness.

Say what you want about Cruise and I’ll say this: You can’t doubt the star power of a 51-year-old dude when his last five films during the past five years grossed an excess of $1.5 billion worldwide from budgets that combined for $517 million and one of them – Rock of Ages – made just $59 million, according to Forbes.com.

And none of those five films – “Oblivion,” “Jack Reacher,” “Rock of Ages,” “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and “Knight and Day” – comes even close to Edge of Tomorrow, which is his best work since he showed us the money in 1996’s “Jerry Maguire.”

And that’s saying something, especially considering Cruise has established quite a niche in this genre, cranking out sci-fi hits such as “Vanilla Sky,” “Minority Report,” “War of the Worlds” and “Oblivion.”

But if I could come back alive after being killed, I’d watch “Edge of Tomorrow,” again over any of those films – and you’ll agree with me.