We open with news reports, basically a meteor has crashed into Europe, and now Western Europe has been taken over by an Alien Race called Mimics- and every so often Tom Cruise pops up to give information, and we also learn about the “Angel of Verdun” who single handedly killed hundreds of these things while stopping the assault. I’m guessing they are gonna meet- and kiss.
Tom Cruise is oddly enough not playing Tom Cruise here, but Major Cage, who is a PR guy for the Army, and he is sent to London to get meet with the head of the United Defense Force, right before they invade France in a D-Day 2.0/Independence Day mashup. The General wants Cage to be on the ground selling the invasion for the home viewers, since the bodycount is going to be high. Cage, being a bit of a coward almost wets his pants and tries to weasel his way out of it, since he thinks he is more valuable selling the war to the folks back home. When he realizes he has no choice, he tries to blackmail the General into letting him out of it, but that gets him arrested and Tazed, since he has no idea on how a war zone works.
Cage wakes up on a forward location, and his new Sgt- Bill Paxton, who has a note saying Cage is a deserter and was found impersonating an officer. Since this is the day before the invasion, there is no communication in or out, so he’s stuck. Cage is thrown into the breach during the invasion, and meets up with the Angel, and watches her get killed, but Cafe is able to kill one of the larger Mimics- who sprays him with blood. Cage wakes up, stunned at the forward base,
and we enter the Groundhog Day portion of the movie.
And what a movie it is!
I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t expecting much of this film going in, I expected The Last Samurai crossed with Groundhog Day with a Mech Warrior slant, but what I got is probably Tom Cruise’s best work in YEARS. You almost wouldn’t think this was the same guy in War of the Worlds. Cruise works harder here than maybe any role since Minority Report, and he has a stronger script here. There are some flaws, and I’ll get to these in the spoiler half. Tom Cruise earned every dime he got paid in this movie, and you should go see it for that very reason alone. This man can act, and even though he’s a little old for this role, he works hard enough you forgive him for it.
As for the Angel of Verdum, Sergeant Rita Vrataski is well done, well acted, and she’s more than capable in the role, the film does a fine job keeping her central to the plot, without making her pure eye candy, so well in fact that I got a little irritated when the inevitable falling in love part of the movie came into being (‘not a spoiler, you knew it was happening as soon as you saw her on the poster). There are moments when you are supposed to be thinking wow, she’s hot, and yes, Yes she is.
The rest of the cast is very good, although thin, and to be honest, they are supposed to be, they pop up when needed and gone when they are not. This movie is about Cage vs the Aliens, with some support from Rita and the dude that cut off Jamie Lannister’s hand.
So can I recommend this movie?
Without a doubt. This move moves fast- not to fast to skip over some holes, but fast enough you don’t care about them at the time, and you simply are enjoying yourself too much to care. This movie does 2 things well, show off that Tom Cruise is still awesome and we can have a good Alien movie without getting stupid with it. We may never get a MechWarrior movie, and to be honest, the Mechs don’t really come into play as much as you would think, but do have a few moments where they just look awesome.
I’m giving this movie a 9. I’m hoping there is a directors cut that fills in a few holes. There is not that much blood, and no nudity, so you could even let the kiddos watch this one.