When Tesco Tony Stark Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) discovers an abandoned truck that turns out to be a Transformer, he and his daughter become wanted by a crooked government official and the evil Decepticons, who are both trying to wipe Autobots off the face of the earth.
Quick disclaimer first – I haven’t seen Transformers 1 through 3, so I can’t say whether they were better or worse than Age of Extinction, but I’m going to go with better.
Man of Steel (which I enjoyed) raised a few eyebrows with the amount of destruction depicted on screen, but Age of Extinction manages to top it. Stuff blows up. A lot. Cars crash into other cars that then crash into buildings, and as a result the already trying 165-minute running time seems much, much longer. The plot is weak, the dialogue is atrocious and the third act features a dull, lengthy scrap in the streets of Hong Kong that only serves as a way to push more brand names in our faces. Oh yeah, and there are dinosaur Transformers now too, and the sight of Prime riding one like a horse is the least ridiculous part of this film.
That honour probably goes to Cade’s daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz), who fell victim to the “woman in a Michael Bay movie” trope. Despite the fact she’s meant to be 17, there’s a lot of focus on how hot she is (including a weird comment from her dad’s friend about her shorts) and she spends 85% of the film screaming for someone to save her.
Actually, all the human characters are paper thin. Wahlberg’s performance is particularly unremarkable, which is a shame because he’s usually engaging and likeable on screen. Jack Reynor’s Shane on the other hand is neither, and should have been killed off in the first act along with Cade’s pervy mate. As for Stanley Tucci and Kelsey Grammer – why did they agree to something so beneath them? WHAT DOES BAY HAVE ON THEM???
There are plus points: the heavy Imagine Dragons track for one; and the visuals are impressive. The fluid look and feel of the Transformium-made bots works well, and seeing Optimus Prime and co. switch from Transformer to vehicle is still pretty cool to watch. Bay has spent so much time making sure the non-human characters look good that he’s forgotten to, you know, actually make a decent movie.
60 minutes too long, incredibly boring and some mild racism thrown in for good measure (Ken Watanabe’s samurai Autobot), even 15-year-old boys will be insulted by this crap. And if they aren’t then they should be. No bueno.
ONE OUT OF FIVE