An Officer Embraces an Alien in Death on the Battlefield and Finds Himself Continually Transported Back in Time to the Morning of the Battle.
Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) finds himself on a horrific battlefield on a beach in France unprepared for the fierce and overwhelming attack of the enemy. It’s only moments before he finds himself in a grisly and bloody embrace of death with an alien. Splashed with the alien’s body fluids it turns out to be an encounter of great import.
Cage’s last encounter on the battlefield was with no ordinary alien. It was a commander alien called an Alpha that possessed a special power over the fabric of time itself. If defeated, these aliens could go back in time and learning from their mistakes repeat the encounter with their enemy making them in the end unbeatable. The dilemma for the aliens now is that this power of time-control has now been accidentally transferred to a human and he’s persistently using it in an attempt to bring about their downfall.
Back to the Beginning
The movie starts with Cage being unceremoniously dumped at a base where soldiers are preparing for the D-day encounter. He learns the hard way that threatening a general with blackmail can have dire consequences. Stripped of rank he finds himself quickly assigned to the infantry unit of misfits called J-Squad and thrust into battle with no training.
Each time he dies he finds himself back at the base. On one of his repeated forays onto the same battlefield he meets Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a decorated war hero and propaganda recruiting poster girl, who tells him just before she dies to seek her out when time repeats itself. It turns out she, too, had the same experience but lost the power due to a blood transfusion. From then on they team up. She trains him to become a crack soldier fully utilizing the weaponry of the high-tech exoskeleton battle suit and each time they make it a little further on the battlefield before inevitably dying.
Eventually, they make it off the battlefield and into the very heart of enemy territory with the help of the misfit infantry unit he was assigned with. Their goal is to hunt down and destroy the Omega which acts as the brain of the mimics.
The movie does have it’s intriguing moments which are encountered in the dialogue between characters. The kind of conversations that would never exist had time not been repeated. Two memorable ones are with General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) and another one where Cage is stalling in continuing a mission because he knows that no matter what they do Vrataski never makes it alive beyond that point.
The aliens called ‘mimics’ scamper and spin around like electric grass clippers that move with great speed. While they are usually moving around on screen too fast to have a good look at them we are afforded close ups of the awesome and intimidating Alpha that is sure to please any sci-fi fan. Cool!
Gallow humor abounds with Vrataski’s itchy trigger finger wanting relief anytime Cage appears to be badly injured or they’ve seemingly reached a dead end. She knows it will take Cage and her back to the beginning of the day though Cage is not so nonchalant about yet another death! Then there are other incidents like his attempt at saving someone he knows is going to die only to die himself when he attempts to push him out of the way.
Bill Paxton makes a welcome entrance on the screen as Master Paxton Fare who greets Cage when he first arrives on base. There isn’t much to the role but he sure makes his time on screen memorable with the various ‘first encounters’ he has with cage. “Battle is the great redeemer,” he says in a Kentucky accent no doubt a tongue-in-cheek reference to Cage’s terrible fall from grace.
Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise did a fantastic job in their respective roles. Blunt as a hard and callous soldier and Cruise as the soft public relations officer who initially finds himself ill-prepared for a venture onto a battlefield.
I found the movie enjoyable to watch and intriguing. Using time-control to crush and absolutely dominate your enemy and the way the characters Cage and Vrataski refer to what happened in previous encounters gives this movie a unique feeling. Well worth a trip to the local cinema.
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