Doug Liman's career has been a wobbly yet interesting trajectory. From the indie swagger of Swingers in 1996, kicking off the Bourne franchise in 2002, and then slumping into rather bland action-fare with 2007's Mr & Mrs. Smith and 2008's Jumper. He's always tried to bring a little bit of that early verve to the big budget blockbusters he works on, but it's often an uneasy accord.

Here he's aligned with Tom Cruise, who on the one hand is one of the most enduring contemporary A-List stars, and on the other, has never been too shy of taking a risk. Whilst Edge Of Tomorrow gets off the blocks at a stumble rather than a sprint, it is buoyed by the fact that Cruise is playing a somewhat self-confessed coward.

His Major Bill Cage is the shiny polish put ontop of a failing military operation, the well groomed figure sat at the newsdesk spinning bodycounts into recruitment campaigns. The human race has been invaded by aliens known as "mimics" (essentially flurrying balls of angry dreadlocks), the recruitment campaign has mainly revolved around the success of Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) who using a mechanized suit and with minimal training became a war hero.

Bill is sent onto the front line by General Brigham (Brendan Gleason), treated like dirt by his new unity - headed up by a gleeful Bill Paxton as Master Sergeant Farell - and dropped into the midst of alien warfare on the shores of France. Bill is killed in battle, but suddenly comes to, waking up, back at the military base about to meet Farell for the first time again.

So, essentially it's The Longest (Groundhog) Day, and Liman doesn't shy away from giving his battle a similar sense of Saving Private Ryan's grit, but with heavier fire power and CG-beasties.

As Bill re-experiences the same day over and over he seeks out Rita, and she helps him to rehearse the tragic events again and again - the day restarting each time Bill dies - in an effort to win the war.

Liman's film is undeniably derivative, but it uses our familiarity with genres tropes to keep the action moving, and it's joyfully playful in the macabre device of having Tom Cruise die countless times in grisly and comical ways. The film's biggest influence though has to be the structure of video games, with the plot feeling like a player attempting to perfect a particularly challenging level.

Sadly this similarity lends itself to the rather bland final act of the film, even more crushing following the giddy invention of the film's second act. Overall, plot-wise the film shares a flaw with an awful Nicolas Cage movie (that shall remain nameless to avoid spoiling things too much, though not many people saw this one) that is pretty unforgivable. Though, luckily for Edge Of Tomorrow, there's enough goodwill generated by this point that the ending feels more like a necessary evil than poor storytelling. However, there is a lingering sense of 'What if...?' that nags at the brain, if the team had applied themselves a bit more there's a greater movie just a hairs breadth out of reach.

All told though this is an entertaining romp, a popcorn-munching, crowd-pleasing big blockbuster with a few more smarts than the average multiplex-fare, bolstered by a solid supporting cast and great lead turns from Cruise and Blunt.