TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION
*** (out of 5)
June 27, 2014
Mark Wahlberg as CADE YEAGER
Stanley Tucci as JOSHUA JOYCE
Kelsey Grammer as HAROLD ATTINGER
Nicola Peltz as TESSA YEAGER
Jack Reynor as SHANE DYSON
Titus Welliver as JAMES SAVOY
Sophia Myles as DARCY TIRREL
Bingbing Li as SU YUEMING
T.J. Miller as LUCAS FLANNERY
Peter Cullen as OPTIMUS PRIME
Directed by: Michael Bay
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
Unlike Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, you know exactly what you’re gonna get when you go see a Michael Bay “Transformers” movie. And you get exactly that with the fourth installment of the series, “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”
For the Michael Bay fan, this is glorious news. You’ll get the beer commercial filmmaking you’ve grown to know and love. You’ll get the massive action set pieces. You’ll get the oversaturated slo-mo shots of various characters. You’ll get plenty of scenes with insanely hot (but likely painfully vapid) supermodels as background extras. And you’ll get Michael Bay making creepy old fart love to the leading lady using his camera.
What you won’t get is a decent – or even coherent – script, effective charaterization, witty dialogue or a reasonable running time.
We’ve come to expect this all from Michael Bay. If you are expecting anything outside of this result, you’re delusional.
It is because of this that I often judge Bay’s films with a different set of rules. I don’t expect story or character quality at all. I do expect some cool action shots, and he does deliver with those. I may end up hating his films in retrospect, but I can’t deny the mainstream fast food entertainment value they deliver.
This is a long-winded way to excuse this scathing yet overall mildly positive review of “Transformers: Age of Extinction.” I’ve come to expect nothing more – and nothing less – from this narrow-minded and severely faulted director.
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” takes place after the events of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” After the Battle of Chicago, the government is now hunting down the Autobots as well as the Decepticons, melting them down to build their own transforming machines (which miraculously go un-tested until deployed in the field to disastrous results). For some reason, they’ve also partnered with another set of transforming alien robots to achieve this. (Allegedly, the robots have made a handshake agreement and promised some technology in exchange for letting them help track down the Autobots. You can always trust alien robots from outer space betraying their own kind, yo.)
Meanwhile, in Texas, Cade Yaeger (Mark Wahlberg) is an inventor trying to make ends meet fixing portable CD players and VHS camcorders. His daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) has to give up on her dream of spending the summer getting drunk and getting a tan when she realizes she won’t get any financial aid at school. Cade ends up stumbling upon a massive truck full of bullet holes that no one noticed in a movie theater. He brings it home, deduces it’s a transformer, and the Feds (or rather the insanely brutal and illegal team of psychotic mercenaries working for the Feds) show up to take it away. And Optimus Prime explodes out of a barn. Explosions! Robots! Eighteen-year-old actress in short shorts! Boom!
You get the picture. Like the other films, it’s an overly convoluted story that really makes no sense when you think about it. However, it’s all there to serve the purpose of having giant robots blowing shit up.
And yes, shit does get blown up.
Though shit doesn’t get blown up as epicly and as awesomely as we saw in the previous film. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” certainly was a better action film. In fact, the final 30 minutes of that movie played as a strong excuse for all the nonsense that happened before it.
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” has some decent action in it, but it’s not Bay’s best. The only thing that really keeps this one in the positive column is that Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox are nowhere to be seen in it. Wahlberg is passable as the new go-to Bay action star, and Stanley Tucci gives a pretty hilarious performance for his role (which like the rest of the plot, makes no sense, but at least it’s entertaining).
Oh, and there are Dinobots in the film, which was supposed to be the big draw, but we don’t see them until there’s about 15 minutes left. Honestly, they were a big disappointment and not nearly as cool as they could have been.
In the end, like the other “Transformers” films as well as most of Bay’s entire filmography, “Transformers: Age of Extinction” will do in a pinch to waste three hours on the weekend, but it’s a pile of missed opportunities and serious flaws, leading me to reflect on how much better it could have been in so many way.