“Transformers: Age of Extinction” begins its theatrical run in conventional, 3D, and IMAX theaters starting today.
The first three “Transformers” films directed by Michael Bay made nearly $2.7 billion in its worldwide box office. The franchise is a serious cash cow for Paramount Pictures because for whatever reason people love these bastardized versions of these beloved characters. Despite Mark Wahlberg replacing Shia LaBeouf as the lead in “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” this bloated, overpriced, mentally challenged excuse of a fourth film is more of the same from the Los Angeles born director and yet it feels like it’s pouring an entire truck load of salt into a mortal wound.
It’s a shame that nobody is able to be the saving grace of nearly three hours of absolute mind-numbing torture. In fact, there isn’t really anything that sets “Age of Extinction” apart from the first three films. Stanley Tucci is decent playing a billionaire who feels like he doesn’t owe anyone anything. Tucci portrays Joshua Joyce, who is Tony Stark without all the charm or witty one-liners. Tucci’s crowning achievement comes when his people are trying to rebuild Optimus Prime, but end up building Galvatron instead. He sets off on this ridiculous tirade beginning with, “Algorithms!” and “Math!”
John Goodman is as entertaining as he can be as Hound. His eagerness to fight and nimble yet graceful movements on his feet are only complimented by his machismo demeanor. It would’ve been nice if Ken Watanabe’s samurai Autobot Drift had a bit more screen time and John DiMaggio’s Crosshairs is essentially the Autobot version of Starscream since he’s constantly eyeing the leader position. Nevertheless, it is somewhat comforting to hear Frank Welker as Megatron/Galvatron again even if it took this long to get him there.
The supporting cast slowly begins rolling in and you realize you’re in for three of the longest hours of your life. T.J. Miller’s Lucas Flannery is unbearable as the surfer doofus partner to Cade Yeager’s (Mark Wahlberg) inventions and his pit stains. If Lucas doesn’t get to you, all of the drama between Cade and his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) will. The first half hour or so of the film is devoted to Cade and Tessa arguing about inventions, graduation, and dating.
Consider walking out when James Savoy (Titus Welliver) and his crew shows up. James is a CIA agent that works for Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer), who wants to rid the world of Transformers regardless of their intentions. James also thinks he wears bigger britches than he actually does. When he raids Cade’s farm, Cade naturally says he can’t without a warrant. James replies, “My face is my warrant!” This is after an entire sequence where a missile hidden inside Optimus shoots out and bounces around Cade’s house, which has Tessa running around in a tizzy for five minutes straight.
Mark Wahlberg and Optimus Prime are essentially soul mates ten minutes after they meet. The Shane Dyson (Jack Reynor) character is a character completely devoted to racing and banging Cade’s daughter. He’s a complete coward who does nothing but think about himself and yet Cade gives him the stamp of approval because they share a few apocalyptic moments together. A new element is discovered that can be turned into anything the human brain can conjure up. Naturally “top scientists” decide to call it “transformium.” Jesus, if only that was a joke.
A Transformer bounty hunter named Lockdown (Mark Ryan) is hunting down Autobots. He’s constantly referencing their creators, who traveled from planet to planet in their giant snail shaped (with ground effects) spaceships that shot their explosive seeds all over the planet to wipe out all of its life forms since mixing dinosaurs with robots is just silly. What’s that? You’re eager to see the Dinobots? Hopefully you’re willing to sit through two hours of incoherent crap before that even happens including Wahlberg stumbling through really messy parkour and trumping a top CIA agent with a freaking football in a fist fight.
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” oversimplifies and stupefies what was already a dumbed down formula for a successful summer action blockbuster. The script is flat out idiotic at times as characters argue over semantics with each other and say the lamest things imaginable. The action is just a constant barrage of flip-flopping between everything exploding, slow-motion mayhem, and over complicated Transformer battles that you can’t make heads or tails of.
All sparks flicker and die eventually. “Transformers: Age of Extinction” symbolizes a dying star and a fallen breed. Michael Bay has created a tombstone for what used to be recognized as the summer blockbuster.