Movie Review: HANNA

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hannaFocus Pictures
2011
PG-13

“Kissing requires a total of thirty-four facial muscles, and one hundred twelves postural muscles. The most important muscle involved is the orbicularis oris muscle, because it is used to pucker the lips.”

Raised by her father, an ex-CIA agent, in the wilds of Finland, Hanna’s upbringing and training have been one and the same, all geared to making her the perfect assassin. The turning point in her adolescence is a sharp one. Sent into the world by her father on a mission, Hanna journeys stealthily across Europe, eluding agents dispatched after her by a ruthless intelligence operative with secrets of her own. As she nears her ultimate target, Hanna faces starting revelations about her existence…

It was movie night with my circle of friends, and I chose Hanna to be the one we watched. This was back when the movie was first released on DVD, and while looking into the movie, the premise intrigued me. It seemed to be a bit more than your standard Bourne Identity-style psychological thriller. For one, it involves a young girl as a trained-since-birth deadly assassin, who was raised by the CIA agent that was part of the project to develop these super soldier kids. Not exactly a unique premise, admittedly; but what interested me was that it was said that Hanna wasn’t shot like the other action thrillers that were being churned out.

There’s a lot of European folktale influence on the visuals and ambiance of the movie. I don’t know what other way to explain it, other than this is definitely a different beast. There’s more of a subdued, sombre quality to the execution, almost a Kubrick-esque style. Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett are great in their roles, and the cinematography is breathtaking. The story itself moves along at a decent clip, with several locations utilized.

Overall, Hanna was a good change of pace from the bunch of action flicks that normally clog the theaters. It’s a good psychological thriller that will stay with you a bit longer than usual. Recommended.

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Movie Review: JOHN WICK

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john wickLionsgate Home Entertainment
2014
R

“I heard you struck my son.”
“Yes, sir, I did.”
“And may I ask why?”
“Yeah, well, because he stole John Wick’s car, sir, and, uh, killed his dog.”
“Oh.”

A former hitman is driven back to his killer instincts when a thug steals his 1969 Ford Mustang, killing his dog in the process. The action heats up when he tracks the thug to New York City, only to become the target of the thug’s father, a major crime boss.

When it comes to modern action movies (“modern” in the sense of the past decade or so), I’m rather ambivalent. Action movies don’t necessarily rank high in my genre preferences, but I don’t necessarily dislike the genre.

So, there’s this guy named John Wick. Naturally. His wife just died of cancer, and the day of her funeral, he receives a cute widdle puppy that she arranged to have sent to him to help with the sting of her loss. Unfortunately, the very next night, his house is broken into by a gang of Russian mafia youths, and they kill his puppy and steals his vintage 1969 Mustang. This doesn’t set well with, not only John Wick, but also with the Russian mob boss who coincidentally is the father of the young man who committed doggie homicide and took Wick’s car. Because, as it turns out, John Wick used to be a hit man for that Russian mob, the kind that, when his name is even mentioned, even the mob boss pauses to reconsider his life choices. So, after an attempt to talk Wick out of finding and killing his son, the mob boss throws everything at him to stop him from doing so. It…doesn’t go very well.

So, John Wick is your standard revenge-themed ultra-violent testosterone-fueled shoot-em-up action flicks that’s very shiny looking and is heavy on the kinetic effects. While doing the live commentary thing that I do sometimes while watching movies on my Facebook page, I quipped that John Wick seems less a movie and more a bunch of Playstation video game cut scenes spliced together. And yeah, that still seems pretty darned accurate. But, there’s a bit of twist, you see. That being the inclusion of a special kind of hotel that caters to hitman society, and has rules to play by. That certainly made things interesting, and kept John Wick from being your run-of-the-mill action movie with a body count and a use of dubstep that’s almost a violation of the Geneva Convention.

Overall, I did find John Wick to be greatly entertaining in a mindless fun sort of way. Like how many like the bafflingly popular Fast & Furious movies, I would surmise. Keanue Reeves makes for a surprisingly good action star, it seems. Very much worth a rental, yes.

Movie Review: The MUMMY (2017)

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mummy, the 2017Universal Pictures
2017
PG-13

“Whatever’s in there has been safely hidden for two thousand years. This isn’t a tomb, it’s a prison.”

Nick Morton is a soldier of fortune who plunders ancient sites for timeless artifacts and sells them to the highest bidder. When Nick and his partner come under attack in the Middle East, the ensuing battle accidentally unearths Ahmanet, a betrayed Egyptian princess who was entombed under the desert for thousands of years. With her powers constantly evolving, Morton must now stop the resurrected monster as she embarks on a furious rampage through the streets of London.

It seems Universal doesn’t know quite what to do with their stable of Classic Monsters. There’s been some rather disappointing attempts at bringing the gang back together since the 21st Century moved, with lackluster results. Mind you, some of them are serviceable action movies, but none of them have been particularly memorable. And now, Universal wants to do that grands-scope shared universe thing with its own characters, and call it the Dark Universe. And this remake of The Mummy is their way of kicking things off.

The Mummy is an icon, no doubt about it. One of the Big Three, with Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster. Sorry, but Wolfman comes up a very close fourth. I knew about the Mummy for decades before watching my first Mummy movie. And that particular movie was the 1999 Brenden Frazier romp that still gets a viewing from me at least once a year. Then I watched the 1932 Boris Karloff classic. And now that I’ve seen the 2017 redux of The Mummy, I can now say I was good only having watched the previous incarnations.

The 2017 The Mummy stars Tom Cruise as an opportunistic Sergeant who, after some wackiness, stumbles upon the ancient tomb of an Egyptian mummy. Which is odd, because this was hundreds of miles from Egypt, where these kind of things are normally found. So, with the help of a persnickety scientist, the casket is exhumed and is being flown back to London, when one of the people flying along with becomes a zombie, and the plane crashes, killing Sergeant Cruise in the process. The End. Wait, no…Tom Cruise lives! Praise Xenu! Okay, okay, low-hanging fruit. Sorry. Also, no one seems all that perturbed that a corpse is back living again. Huh. Anyway, he’s taken to one Dr. Jekyll, who is the head of a high-tech and clandestine Monster Squad, and is informed that he’s now undead and is gonna be used to finish what the mummy started all those thousands of years ago. Hint: it involves a dagger with a shiny ruby and whole lot of discomfort. Now it’s a race against time to try and stop this ancient undead she-mummy and find a way to get Cruise back to not so much living impaired so he can not be killed by Dr. Jekyll’s alter ego because otherwise he’s gonna become The Mummy and unleash all sorts of evil upon the world. In the meantime, we’re all struggling to find a reason to care about this movie.

I really don’t want to sound like I’m just jumping onto the Hate Train with this review. I really wanted this to succeed. I wanted this to be good, and somehow work even though the inclusion of Tom Cruise stretched my suspension of disbelief quite a bit. I’ll get to that reason in a moment. In short, although it seemed a bit derivative and bandwagon-jumping on Universal’s part, I was actually excited about the prospect of the Dark Universe they were trying to create. You know, despite the fact that Dracula Untold was technically supposed to be that launching pad for that.

I also should point out that, as it’s been pointed out by many already, Universal more or less invented the whole “shared universe” thing that they’re now trying to crib from Marvel. They were always pairing up their Classic Monsters back in the day, and everyone ate it up. So it’s a bit puzzling how Universal keeps misstepping now. But, I digress.

As a movie itself, The Mummy is…meh. There’s no other way to describe it, really. It’s not a bad movie, it’s very action-heavy and keeps my attention throughout, yes. But, it’s clear they were trying to shoehorn everything in with trying to launch the universe, and forgot to focus on the story and characters themselves. I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say it until my dying breath, Tom Cruise just isn’t convincing as an action star. Also, I don’t know if it’s his ego, or the scriptwriters think they can get away with writing Cruise’s character as far younger than what the actor’s age really is (admittedly, he can get away with it better than, say, Russel Crowe, who at one point calls Cruise’s character a “young man” when Cruise is actually two years older than Crowe), but the fact that he’s a 50-something man playing 20-something characters is starting to wear a bit thin. The story itself seems to be all over the place, and the pacing is fairly kinetic. The major point of contention I have, though, is the characterizations, and the fact that some scenes seem all-too ripped off from other movies. Like, say, American Werewolf In London. That one is pretty blatant, as I picked that one out immediately.

You get the sense that maybe the makers of this film decided to re-purpose 1999’s The Mummy in rebooting the franchise. There are some interesting takes on the titular Mummy, such as making it a princess instead of the priest Imhotep, but overall I can’t shake the feeling that they tried to grab the pulp adventure fun of Brendan Fraser’s version and instead kind of ended up with the Batman V. Superman of the Classic Monsters movies. Okay, so maybe more Suicide Squad than Batman V. Superman, as there were parts I kind of liked in the movie, whereas Batman V. Superman is just awful straight through. It’s not unwatchable, but you’ll come out of it feeling a bit disappointed, and remembering the snacks you were consuming while watching this more than remembering the actual movie when it’s over.

Movie Review: THOR: Ragnarok

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thor ragnarokMarvel/Disney
2017
PG-13

“Well, I tried to start a revolution, but didn’t print enough pamphlets so hardly anyone turned up. Except for my mum and her boyfriend, who I hate. As punishment, I was forced to be in here and become a gladiator. Bit of a promotional disaster that one, but I’m actually organizing another revolution.”

Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against the Hulk, his former ally and fellow Avenger. Thor’s quest for survival leads him in a race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home world and the Asgardian civilization.

It seemed like not too long ago that a young and excitable Marvel Studios was releasing what would become their First Wave of the grand-reaching Marvel Cinematic Universe, that included the first Thor movie. I remember being enthusiastic about skipping the first Thor movie, because I really wasn’t a fan of the Marvel comic itself. A comic book hero based on Norse mythology? Hard pass. I prefer my comic book heroes dressing up as nocturnal rodents or bitten by radioactive critters, thank you very much. Or, failing that, written by the British Triumvirate (Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, and Alan Moore). You get the idea. Pity my prejudices, as when I finally did get around to watching both Thor and its sequel, I actually enjoyed them. Not my favorites of the Marvel Movie bunch, but certainly not terrible. Good enough to warrant trying to watch the third movie in the theater when it was released. And watch it in the theater I did, with the other members of the Coven of Exalted Geeks, which we also recorded a podcast about immediately thereafter. But, since I like to go a bit more in-depth with my coveted opinions on things on this here blog of mine, here’s what I thought of Thor: Ragnarok.

My first thought of the movie was, “This is, hands down, the best Hulk movie I’ve seen.” And no, that’s wasn’t a spoiler, because the trailer to this movie flat-out shows the Hulk, right out in the open. Which is a bit of a point of contention I had, letting that cat out of the bag long before the movie, but then again, I’m just a pseudo-journalist with a blog, and not one of them Hollywood execs calling the shots on this. Not that I’m bitter or anything (wankers). But, yeah, the Hulk makes up about a third of the fun times had with Thor: Ragnarok, what with his gleeful antagonism of Thor like the good frienemy he is.

My second thought: “Wow, they actually managed to get ‘The Immigrant Song’ for the movie, not just the trailer.” Which is a feet unto itself, really. They may be loosening up their iron-clad grip on licensing out their songs, but Led Zeppelin still doesn’t just hand them out like Pez candy. “The Immigrant Song” plays not just once, but twice here. Excellent get. Well, it was either this, or something from the equally tonally-appropriate Amon Amarth. “Guardians Of Asgard” comes to mind…

My third and final big thought on this: “They’re really trying to capture the magic of the Guardians Of The Galaxy formula, aren’t they?” Yeah, while this is a rather dark movie (which is to be expected when the concept of Armageddon and destruction is right there in the subtitle of the movie), there are also a heavy dollop of humor mixed in to help lighten the tone up. This works maybe 85 percent of the time, maybe.

You may have noticed that I decided not to go with my standard method of summarizing the plot of the movie. That’s mainly because Thor: Ragnarok really is an epic fantasy action movie in and of itself. It starts with a massive battle between Thor and the undead army of Hell (or whatever the Marvel equivalent is), and then it ends with a giant fiery demon destroying Asgard. In-between, major characters in the franchise die, Thor goes on an unexpected journey of discovery, we’re introduced to one of the greatest side characters since Luis in Ant-Man, and of course HULK SMASH! A lot of HULK SMASH! All this, and some of the most mind-blowing visuals this side of a Kirby splash page. On the other hand, this may all be part of the downside of the movie, as there’s so much to take in. Also, sometimes the humor itself seems more juvenile than not. And it was mentioned in the podcast we did that Hela seemed to be yet another arbitrary villain introduced without much buildup or fleshing out beyond some brief exposition. I tend to agree with this assessment.

Overall, despite its flaws, I would still urge anyone reading this to try and watch this on the biggest screen you can, and try and take in as much as you can. Thor: Ragnarok may be a filler movie before getting to the main event with the next Avengers movie, but it’s a grandly entertaining filler movie, full of bright shiny things and genuinely laugh-out-loud moments, along with great action sequences. In other words, it’s a Marvel movie. Go enjoy it for what it is.

Movie Review: TERMINATOR Genisys

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terminator genisysParamount Pictures
2015
PG-13

“Just make sure you show up. I don’t want to have to steal someone’s pants again.”

In the war of man against machine, Sgt. Kyle Reese is sent back to 1984 by resistance leader John Connor to protect his young mother, Sarah Connor. However, this time unexpected events have altered the past and threaten the future for all mankind. Now Reese must join forces with Sarah and her Guardian to save the world and stop the next evolution of Terminators.

So, here we are, with a fifth installment in the franchise that will not die, this one titled Terminator Genisys. And why is Genesis spelled with a “Y”, you may ask? I have no earthly idea. Because poor literacy is kewl, I guess. All apologies to Linkara, there. This time around, there’s more time travel shenanigans, more Ah-nold, more Terminators, and more headaches.

When this particular Terminator sequel came out, the outcry against this was rather loud, with proclamations of this being the very worst in the series, and that this is the movie that will finally kill the franchise dead. Which is funny, because I remember the same outcry done with both Terminator III: Rise Of The Machines, and then for Terminator: Salvation. But, I digress. What I found interesting was how they managed to write in the former Governator explaining how his aged visage got that way. Hint: Bio-SCIENCE! Anyway, the movie…

We begin things off in THE FUTURE, where we get a flashback of one Kyle Reese’s childhood in the machine war-ravaged land, being rescued by a very not Christian Bale-looking John Connor. Flash forward a bit, and we see a much more grown-up Reese accompanying Connor in his final push against the Machines and take down the A.I. Big Brain itself, resulting in the freedom of mankind once more. They succeed, but not before Skynet sends back a T-800 series you may be familiar with to terminate one Sarah Connor in 1984. So, of course, John Connor sends Kyle Reese back to that year, but before Reese blips off to THE PAST, he witnesses a much more advanced T-5000 series Terminator kill Connor. Reese then finds himself in the first Terminator movie…kinda…only he’s now being chased by a T-1000, until he’s picked up by a much more badass-than-expected Sarah Connor in a van and makes a getaway. Seems that the first T-800 was already taken out by Miss Connor and “Pops”, a similar T-800 sent back when she was 9 years old to protect her growing up.

Yeah, you might want to grab some headache medicine about now. Things are gonna get even more brain-hurty.

After your usual comedy of misunderstandings between Reese and Pops, they manage to off the T-1000 with an acid bath, and then show off their own home-made time machine they probably cobbled together from an article from Popular Mechanics or something. Sarah wants to fast forward to 1997, the original year when Skynet gains sentience and kicks off the Armageddon that nearly wipes out mankind, and take care of the problem at the root. Kyle at least is geeky enough to realize that the time stream has been altered, and the future might not be the future they would originally expect. Oh, and Kyle’s getting messages from his younger self that technically never existed. Yet. You thought I was kidding bout the headache medicine, didn’t you?

So, Kyle and Sarah decide to jump further ahead to 2017, completely surpassing whatever year Terminator III took place in, because why would you want to reference that movie? They show up neekid in the middle of a busy highway in San Francisco, missing a pickup by Pops by that much, and are taken into custody, because you just can’t wander around the streets of San Francisco all nakie nowadays. This isn’t the 60s, you know. There, they learn of the new way Skynet is going to come alive and take control of the world’s interwebs: Genisys, which is a hot new up-coming app that was created by the kid of that guy who was killed helping destroy the Cyberdyne offices back in Terminator 2. It’s supposed to link everything, and make everything something-something, Millennials like it. Of course, they manage to break out of their handcuffs, where they are then rescued by John Connor.

I’m going to pause once again to let you take another pull from whatever it is you’re using to maintain your mental stability, here. Go on, I’ll wait. Good? Let’s proceed, then…

It turns out, though, that this is the John Connor that was supposedly killed in THE FUTURE! that Kyle witnessed before going off to THE PAST!, only instead Connor has been taken over by Skynet directly by way of millions upon millions of nanobots. So then, Pops finally shows up, they manage to get away due to magnets (how do they work? Sorry…couldn’t resist), and Pops takes them to another super-secret base he set up while waiting for Kyle and Sarah to show up in THE FUT…er, THE PRESENT! Doesn’t have quite the same ring, here. Anyway, they make a bunch of bombs and load up a bunch of weapons and ammo, take off in a stolen school bus, battles the T-3000 (Connor, in case you were wondering), makes it to the Cyberdyne headquarters, fights the T-3000 a bunch more, they set up bombs, the AI messes with their heads, Pops looks like he was taken out, it looks like they may have lost but BOOM! they actually win at the last minute. Pops comes back with some upgrades that will make you groan, Future Kyle meets Present Kyle, all without ripping the fabric of space and time somehow, and everyone goes off to live happily ever after. Then a mid-credit sequel bait scene, and The End. For now.

The thing about being a fan of time travel movies and stories, is there’s a tendency to try and make sense of the “science” part of the “fiction”. I’m not even going to try to organize my thoughts enough to even begin to explain, but needless to say Terminator: Genisys has quite a few holes in it. They’re relatively entertaining holes, but holes none-the-less.

As to the charge that this movie ruined the franchise? I would have to say “no”. It did, however, try really, really hard to reboot the franchise, and came up really, really short by doing so. So now we have a Sarah Connor who was raised by the T-800 Ah-nuld model since a girl, which was never really explained who sent that one back to do so. Maybe that was a point that was going to be explored in a possible sequel, but that’s not going to happen now. So, I’m going to call it now: It was an old and curmudgeon-y Edward Furlong who sent it back. No reason. You can’t prove it wasn’t.

The parts that were recreated from the first movie I thought were done really well, and as an action movie in and of itself, Terminator: Genisys succeeds greatly. It’s just that the plot was expecting too much in the Suspension Of Disbelief area, that I had to pause more than once to make sense of things. And I’m rather good at picking up on wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimy things like that. Co’mon, you didn’t think I would go without at least one Doctor Who reference, did you?

Overall, I think Terminator: Genisys is worth checking out as a budget rental, or free streaming on Amazon or whatever service you have. It’s not terrible, but the first two Terminator movies are in no danger of being usurped as the best of the franchise any time soon.

Movie Review: RADICAL JACK

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radical jackEdgewood Entertainment
2000
R

Back in the early 1990s, I don’t think anyone could anticipate the kind of career trajectory Billy Ray Cyrus would take. After hitting One Hit Wonder gold with the infernal Country earworm “Achy Breaky Heart”, he seemed to have parlayed his lukewarm music career into various acting endeavors, as well as spawning more successful musical progeny. You have to admire his tenacity and work ethic, if not his talent.

In 2000, the Mulleted One starred in a low-budget “action” flick named Radical Jack. This movie’s premise seems to smoosh together two better movies: Road House and Stone Cold, only with hardly any of the charm and cheesy goodness of those. Radical Jack is an action movie so vanilla, so devoid of actual action or substance, you can’t help but continue watching out of pity, really.

Radical Jack tells the tale of ex-CIA operative “Radical” Jack (“Radical” was his code name, presumably chosen by a 10-year-old son of a Colonel) who is recruited begrudgingly to scope out illegal weapons trade happening in a small po-dunk Southern town of nondescript. Since “Radical” Jack rides a motorcycle and rocks a sweet, sweet mullet, of course the moment he hits the town he immediately gets a job at the local bar, but not until after he does his laundry and have sepia-toned flashbacks. He runs into the gang of ruffians lead by the son of the…gangster? Illegal gun fencer? Whatever you call him…all I know is he likes to sit outside on the porch of his nice home in the finest of polo shirts and have brunch and coffee a lot. Anyway, that guy’s kid and his slack-jawed yokel friends like to drive around in a Hummer and generally be assbutts to everyone in the town, including the waitresses at the bar that “Radical” Jack now works at. You can probably see where this is going. So, several confrontations happen, a bunch of tough-guy posturing and badly choreographed fight scenes ensue, and eventually the biggest non-surprising non-twist happens and the movie is over. Finally.

I have no idea who came up with the bright idea to try and make Billy Ray Cyrus an action star. Trying to take a guy who is closely associated with all-American wholesomeness and turning them into a grizzled antihero type just fell flatter than Garth Brooks’ attempt at his Chris Gaines persona. And I just now realized that I seem to know way more about 90s era country music than I’m comfortable to admit. That crap was everywhere, man. Anyway, the dialogue spouted was beyond horrible, the “action” scenes laughable, and if it wasn’t for some face palm-worthy bits of swearing that Billy Ray doesn’t seem to be able to pull off and some surprise nudity, I would swear this was a Family Channel attempt at edgy action television. The only redeeming quality of this movie happens to be that it’s one of those movies so bad that you can’t seem to stop watching, like a train wreck.

Fortunately, there was no further attempt to make Billy Ray into an action hero star. Unfortunately, Radical Jack still exists. And if you come across it…grab your friends, and rip this one to shreds. You’ll have a jolly good time.

Movie Review: EDGE OF TOMORROW

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Movie Review EDGE OF TOMORROWWarner Bros. Pictures
2014
PG-13

“Now listen carefully. This is a very important rule. This is the only rule. You get injured on the field, you better make sure you die.”

When Earth falls under attack from invincible aliens, no military unit in the world is able to beat them. Major William Cage, an officer who has never seen combat, is assigned to a suicide mission. Killed within moments, Cage finds himself thrown into a time loop, in which he relives the same brutal fight–and his death–over and over again. However, Cage’s fighting skills improve with each encore, bringing him and a comrade ever closer to defeating the aliens.

Edge Of Tomorrow is a science fiction movie that I remember seeing the teaser trailer for once while waiting for another movie to begin. It consisted of Tom Cruise in a mech suit of some kind, wondering around a battlefield with things blowing up around him…and that’s about all I remember before my brain began drifting to other, much more interesting things, like wondering if there was time to go get a package of Reese’s Pieces to mix in with my popcorn (I opted not to go). I wasn’t really planning on ever watching Edge Of Tomorrow, more out of disinterest in yet another gritty science fiction war movie, let alone one that features Tom Cruise in there. But, yet again the great ogre that is boredom reared its ugly head one weekend afternoon, and spying this on the streaming decided to kill off a couple of hours. The resulting reaction was…mixed, at best.

It’s the near future of…2015, and in a totally ironic reversal, Germany has been invaded…by a horde of intergalactic aliens called the Mimics, sort of a hive-minded Lovecraftian horror that managed to kill all the humans in their way. Five years later, the world’s combined military forces have finally managed their one victory, led by a sergeant in a mech suit that was dubbed the Angel of Verdun. This provides a much-needed boost of moral for the humans, and before you know it a major offensive in France is planned, with public affairs officer Major Tom Cruise William Cage being recruited to cover the day of the assault. Major Cage has a slight disagreement with this idea, and so he’s busted down to Private, labelled a deserter, and assigned to the J Squad for the battle. Of course, the battle itself doesn’t go well, and Private Cage dies taking out a rather large Mimic, getting covered in its blood with his dying breath. The End. Oh, wait, no…Cage wakes up again, reliving the last 24 hours leading up to the battle, with the memories of the previous attempt fresh in his head. Realizing he’s stuck in his own personal Groundhog Day hell, he proceeds to spend maybe hundreds of the reiteration of the same day trying to figure out a way to stop the Mimics once and for all. And this involves hundreds of times trying to convince the Angel of Verdun that he’s not nuts and help him do so. Of course, the standard time loop wackiness ensues, leading to finding the Big Alien Brain behind all this, which might involve Cage having to make the final assault without his timey-wimey powers.

As I was watching this, I kept asking myself, who was it that decided that Tom Cruise, of all people, needed to be an action star? This seems to be his modus operandi with movies since the end of the 20th Century. You would expect him to maybe be in a parody of an action movie, like with Charlie Sheen (Hot Shots) and his brother Emilio Estevez (Loaded Weapon 1). I don’t watch a lot of Tom Cruise movies, but going over the filmography page on IMDB, it seems that after doing Eyes Wide Shut, there’s been a lot of action movies on his list. And okay, he was in the action movie comedy Tropic Thunder, which is an awesome movie and everyone should go see it. But still, Tom Cruise still seems…off as a choice for action hero material. But, I digress.

It probably won’t come as much of a surprise when I say that I’m unfamiliar with the Japanese novel this movie is based on, All You Need Is Kill. Which is a very Japanese sounding name, there. And from what I’ve gleaned on the interwebs, there was a lot of plot streamlining for the movie, so one could say that Edge Of Tomorrow is loosely based on the novel. That said, my impression of Edge Of Tomorrow is essentially Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers. That’s the movie in a nutshell, minus the having to travel to distant planets to battle the alien horde. Mind you, I happen to dig the whole “stuck in a time loope” trope, when it’s done well, and here it’s done pretty good. Also, you get kickass mech suits and the late, great Bill Paxton as the Master Sergeant, with a whole lotta stuff blowing up. In other words, it’s an sci-fi action movie that tries to be smarter than what it really is, and the result is a rather enjoyable popcorn flick that you don’t have to think too hard about, as all the technical stuff is spelled out for you. You can just sit back, munch on some popcorn, and enjoy the show.

Overall, I did enjoy Edge Of Tomorrow the same way I enjoyed the original Independence Day, right down to the “hooray human endurance” happy ending. Mind you, I don’t understand why Warner Bros. decided to play up the movie’s tag line–“Live. Die. Repeat.”–upon the home video release. To many, that’s the actual title of the movie. I had a co-worker refer to it as that, asking “Have you seen Live Die Repeat?”, which took him describing the plot to make me realize he was talking about this movie. Regardless, you should check this out some time as a rental if you haven’t done so.

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