Transformers – Age of Extinction is the latest entry into this noisy and obnoxious franchise which never seems to improve with age, no matter who stars. This time around is Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager, an inventor who is one step away from losing everything because he does not seem to have a real job. He tinkers with junk he finds and scratches out a living but cannot maintain the house payments or please his daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz). When Yeager finds an old truck in a busted up, abandon movie theater (don’t ask how it got there. I have no idea, I mean this IS a Michael Bay film.) it turns out to be Optimus Prime. Soon the feds, led by Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) descend like locusts on the Yeager farm and the proverbial crap hits the fan. What ensues is an almost 3 hour assault on the senses. Don’t even try to assess the plot, please. It is merely a window dressing to see everything on screen blown up, crushed, eviscerated, disintegrated and obliterated. I would say there is not one car, building or any structure that is left standing by film’s end. The acting is sufficient with Walberg Stanley Tucci and Grammer carrying this film, but there is really nothing going on that I cared that much about. Bay seems to find plenty of time for the wall to wall action and it is well staged, but it is stifling to the characters, the story and the viewers. All of the action seems to go nowhere and quite frankly, it gets old. The running gag about Walberg’s daughter maintaining her virginity is laughable since she is first in shorts that are so short that the barely cover anything up. Then she changes into jeans that are so tight, I don’t know how she even moves without ripping them open. And, oh yes, the high heels. She lives on a farm but seems to love high heels. Even when she is being flung about by the machines and running from the machines she is sporting the pointy shoes with the stiletto heels. I don’t know how ANYONE could run like that without busting a heel or their ankle. Apparently, his daughter can dress like a ‘working girl’ but has a ‘don’t look, don’t touch’ policy imposed by Yeager and, “For God’s sake, NO KISSING!” It is all pretty ludicrous.
This time around, Transformers is not as awful as the last one. Age of Extinction is loud and fun in spots but overall, this is a franchise that needs an overhaul. Bay directs with energy and gusto but never lets the film breathe and his direction has the subtlety of a brick through a window. Screenwriter Ehren Kruger is not a bad writer but the details of these plots for the franchise seem to never make sense. It was good to see Titus Welliver take time out from hocking Comcast to play a pretty decent bad guy but the lovely Sophia Myles and Jack Reynor are wasted for the most part, in characters that are paper thin. Steven Jablonsky’s score is about the only emotional hook I had to this film. He is an excellent film score composer and Bay is wise to keep using him Transformers – Age of Extinction is not horrendous but this is a franchise that needs to infuse some class or tact into its agenda for the fifth installment. Yes, you read correctly. There will be a fifth Transformers and Wahlberg has signed to be in it Maybe, by then, they will figure something out to get it right, finally.
Transformers – Age of Extinction- ** out of 4