By Brie Austin (New York, NY, USA)
Transformer: Age of Extinction is the fourth bio-mechanical alien epic in the series, and may serve as a transitional bridge to the story-line.
While movie-goers seem to love it (they openly cheered at the screening I attended), the critics have been trashing it. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times calls it “Mind-numbing, bombastic action that seems never to end.”
The film is long at 165 minutes, and starts by revealing that the extinction of the dinosaurs wasn’t caused at by what we thought. After that things low down, and the absence of Sam Whitwiki (Shia LaBeouf), his parents, and Simmons (John Turturro) is quite obvious, leaving the film a bit flat and soulless.
Our new hero is Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), an inventor that can’t seem to make anything of substance work, nor pay the rent of the expansive farm he and his daughter live on. He sort of reminds me of the Tom Cruise character in War of The Worlds: the fuck up father who turns hero when it matters. But they go too far to make the point, so he comes off as a self-wallowing-I-can’t-seem-to-get-ahead-but-I-won’t-quit-and-if-I-can-catch-one-break… blah blah blah.
Then there is his employee, Lucas (T.J. Miller), who is loyal, half-stupid, and a surfer enthusiast — in TEXAS! He was supposed to be the early comic relief but the script was lacking in that regard.
Tessa Yeager (Nicola Peltz) is the 17 year old hottie of a daughter strutting around in her shorty-shorts while dad insists that she can’t date till she’s 18. Yeah, right; it’s no surprise when her boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor) steps into the story, well, no surprise to anyone except her father. And then we have to endure the bad banter back and forth between father and boyfriend.
It’s post The Battle of Chicago (Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon), and the government is on the hunt for any transformers, Autobots or Decepticons. Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) plays the ruthless C.I.A black ops agent (so arrogant he won’t take a meeting with the President), who is leading the hunt team. He also has a secret weapon, another Transformer, one that wields a lot of power and seems to have knowledge of where the Transformers came from; hints are dropped, but we don’t get answers in this episode.
Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) heads the multinational KSI, the technology firm that has mapped the Transformer genome, and is now creating their own Transformers. Joyce is driven, un-yielding, but later provides the only comic relief, assisted by his assistant Su Yueming (BingBing Li).
If you’re a Transformers enthusiast that enjoys the fast-paced action-filled style of Michael Bay, then you’ll no doubt like this new installment. It may prove to be the first installment of a new direction, with later episodes exploring the origins of the Transformers, and the motives of their creators.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars
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