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Transformers: Age Of Extinction



MV5BMjEwNTg1MTA5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTg2OTM4MTE@__V1__SX1217_SY602_Released: 2014

Directed By: Michael Bay

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Jack Reynor

Certificate: 12A

Reviewed By: Hayley Mackay

Usually, I would open a review with a brief synopsis of the plot, but seeing as some of the best critical minds could not even begin to make sense of the carnage that is Transformers: Age of Extinction, I will leave that lengthy explanation to Wikipedia. ‘Brief’ is about the furthest one can get from describing the fourth instalment in Michael Bay’s blockbuster series; the film is so long you are lucky to leave the cinema with your will to live intact.

What I can say, without tugging too hard on the thread, is that the transforming heroes we have come to love are being ruthlessly hunted down by the very race they have fought so hard to protect. It turns out Autobots, now considered dangerous alien outlaws, are no longer too fond of humans, and for good reason; arrogant in nature, and with the help of some devious allies, humans have started to create their own transforming robot guardians, thus, in their minds, rendering the Autobots obsolete.

When things unsurprisingly start to go awry, humans must re-earn the protection of the Autobots. This is where Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) comes in after discovering a battered Optimus Prime in an abandoned cinema, a location which only serves to insult the film’s own audience for mindlessly flocking to see the many sequels of the Transformers franchise. Yeager, the most unlikely robotics expert, vows to help Prime, with the aid of his dysfunctional family, including daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz), around who’s legs entire scenes are framed, despite constant reminders of her being underaged.

Eventually, and for the sole purpose of drawing massive Chinese box office takings, a feeble plot point takes the final battle, Dinobots included, to Hong Kong, where Michael Bay proceeds to destroy a new city, on a new continent. Apparently the best way to attract an audience is by destroying their capital city. It is here too that we find some horrific racial stereotyping, including the assumption that every Asian person is a reluctant expert in kung fu.

The new cast is refreshing, and honestly, one of the film’s few positives. Heavyweights including Kelsey Grammer, who plays conniving FBI agent Harold Attinger, and Stanley Tucci, playing misguided genius Joshua Joyce, both add distinctive class. Incredibly, even Wahlberg’s quality avoids being quashed, despite his subjection to some of the laziest dialogue ever written. Other positives come courtesy of impressive new visual effects; the Autobots genuinely seem to have more soul in this installment, and the new human bots do not fail to impress thanks to the shape shifting nature of the Transformium from which they are crafted.

Transformers: Age of Extinction starts off positive but quickly loses focus. You are left drifting amidst debris of plot, struggling to find anything firm to cling on to as the mind numbing action relentlessly lumbers on. Although not the worst film in the Transformers franchise, that not saying much, Age of Extinction offers most of the same to audiences, including a plot where occurrences are so coincidental and ‘just in time’, you start to wonder why anything needs to be motivated at all. If you enjoyed the first three, you will likely be content, but if you expect more, you will be enormously disappointed, but only after you manage to wade through a ridiculous amount of blatantly obvious product placement, not forgetting that the entire franchise itself is a mere marketing tool for toys.

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