In the near future, an alien species invades Earth and spreads out across Europe. After a major victory led by Special Forces soldier Rita Vrataski, Earth recruits a massive army, equipped with the latest combat enhancement technology, to invade Europe and destroy the aliens. But it’s a trap.
Major William Cage, played by Tom Cruise, is a public relations officer who played the media to drum up support and recruitment. After irritating the commanding general, he ends up sent in with the invasion force as a private and dies within minutes during a catastrophic battle in which humanity loses everything. His death, however, triggers a time loop in which he is forced to fight the same battle again and again. Each time, he learns more about how to fight the aliens, and, teaming up with Vrataski, Cage tries to defeat them.
The action scenes were terrific, the alien life form interesting and challenging, and the time loop stuff didn’t present any glaring plot holes other than the ending, which was a bit “have your cake and eat it too.” The characterization is simplistic–Cage transforms from coward into potential savior of the world–for a simple action film, it works. (Though it would have been interesting to see the psychological toll repeatedly dying has on him. Plus why don’t they bring tanks and jet fighters on the invasion?) It didn’t have the depth that demanded repeated viewings like movies such as CHILDREN OF MEN, but again, it’s a simple action film, and compared to most other science fiction fare, it’s very entertaining. Overall, I’d rate it 3.5 or 4 out of 5 stars.