Let’s get this out of the way: the premise – a science-fiction/action version of Ground Hog Day – is dumb. This is basically the film version of playing a video game, albeit condensed into 2 hours. But if you can get over that (and over the presence of Tom Cruise)…
Okay, so the premise is idiotic. This alien species can start the day over again? Think about that for a minute: Which day? The earth’s day? How? Why at local midnight? Normally, these things would drive me ape-shit. I have ranted and raved and given low stars to numerous movies for having such a terrible premise. Here’s the thing: this movie is extremely entertaining.
I am not a Tom Cruise fan but he has been doing these types of roles for so long that he is extraordinarily good at carrying them off, even when the scripts always need to have scenes of him embarrassing some bigger, stronger men. (This film is no exception.) Tom Cruise is very much just a variation of Tom Cruise in this film, but it’s a humbler version that actually has to learn a few things, at least until he turns into Tom Cruise the Super Hero we all know and love. But he works. As does the film around him, which is essentially just a video game for the audience, albeit one that is better written than most (games, that is) and is full of good actors.
The film is funny and, for a 2-hour movie, extremely well paced. The production design is excellent. It does what it set out to do, which is a lot more than I can say for most action films these days, which lag, or extend their concept to dumber heights, or which spend to much time explaining that concept, or what have you.
This film works.