After leading us through several cycles where he gets it wrong he eventually figures out who the killer is but has some failed attempts in getting the name. Then there is the whole thing that he wants to go back in and save the people in the train. Even though he was told that he really is not effecting the outcome of the events, that they are just shadows of a past that will come to pass anyway and nothing will change that. Still the unfocused and confused Colter wastes valuable time personalizing everyone around him instead of concisely seeking the bomber. Unlike Groundhog Day though he is not there enough cycles to learn the piano and memorize entire movements of everyone in the town. No he finds the bomb and gets the name of the bomber and then his mission is over.
Or is it? He begs Goodwin for one more go at it since nothing actually will change he wants the satisfaction of stopping the train bombing even if it is in this memory world. Against the wishes of her boss Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) she allows the final time. During this time you can guess what happens. Yes that's right he saves the day captures the bad guy and gets the girl. Things are not so smooth back in the office as Goodwin has to physically lock herself in the room with the partial body of Stevens to keep the evil Dr. Rutledge from prematurely rebooting him. We get to see at this point the horrible real life condition of Stevens, pretty much he is a torso and a partially active brain. You can see why fellow soldier Goodwin wants to give Stevens his final wish. Just out of shear respect for the service he has performed. So she guards the room while his eight minutes runs.
Then the film give us the ending where we learn that since Stevens has stopped the bomber and gotten the girl that when the eight minutes are up in the memory world the train does not blow up. His personality is still in the teacher and he can spend the rest of his life with the beautiful Christina. Happily ever after. Except for the wonderfully dirty left overs for us in the audience. Stevens has created a new version of the universe, there is this tripe in Science Fiction writing where we pretend there is basically a new universe created every time a decision is made. An infinite number of universes existing all at once through space time allowing everything to be possible. It is a really horrible theory and an easy out for the science fiction writing like in this film to manipulate for a happy Stevens ending. In this case the consciousness of Steven is now in that universe where he saved the day and got to keep the bod of the teacher and now can start a life with the woman he now is getting to know. In this reality the teacher Sean Fentress is dead, not by being blown to bits but by being displaced by Stevens. I am sure when the glow wears off Stevens is going to see the myriad of problems he now has being in Fentresses body. Then the ending also shows up that the memory world was much more, as we learn not only did Stevens change things on the train, back in what supposedly is the real world he contacts Goodwin and we learn that he actually changed reality for her also. In her day the train never blew up and the entire movie from her perspective never happened. She knows about his body in the the tank and can guess that the program they are running has amazing implications for changing the course of human events. BUT it also means there are two versions of Stevens in this reality, one that is in Fentress's body and the torso in the tank. Just not a very clean ending.
Feelings about this film overall are pretty good. It was a fairly tight action thriller that kept the tension twisted up aenough to entertain. Although there are problems with some of the logic in the movie so be it. That is a common sciencefiction time travel issue and I can let it go. In fact I sort of like that it leaves the reality flawed, if everything was solve I may have been more critical. There are many films besides groundhog day that this takes ideas from, 12 Monkeys, Quantum Leap (the TV show) and Deja Vu to name a few. It is certainly most like the last of this list and even could be seen as remaking that idea.
Rating (6.2) 5.0 and up are recommended In the Zombiegrrlz system I would say rent it.