Transformers: Age of Extinction REVIEW
Director: Michael Bay
Written by: Ehren Kruger
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Peter Cullen, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe and Mark Ryan
MILD SPOILERS WITHIN THIS REVIEW. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Plot: Four years after the battle of Chicago (Dark of the Moon), the humans have severed all ties with Autobots. A special CIA task force known as ‘Cemetery Wind’ have been using their knowledge of Transformer technology to actively hunt down and murder the remaining Autobots.
Working with ‘Cemetery Wind’ is a Transformer mercenary called Lockdown. His mission is to locate Optimus Prime and bring him back to the creators. He is using the humans to help find Optimus, and in return, will provide them with the Seed. Meanwhile, inventor, Cade Yeager and his daughter Tessa plus boyfriend are dragged into the Autobots vs human war while technology company KSI are using transformer knowledge to create human controlled Transformers.
Plus a lot more happens, and I could go on and on, but at 165 minutes runtime, this plot synopsis doesn’t need to bloated too. That’s what the review is for.
Review: 165 minutes. I kid you not. This is one of longest films I have ever seen at the cinemas. And worst part of it all…this movie really felt like the full 165 minutes. Yep, I’ve said it, Transformers: Age of Extinction is probably the best Transformer movie, but that isn’t saying much considering the others aren’t that good.
Transformers: Age of Extinction, thankfully has a darker tone and NO Shia LaBeouf. Sorry, but I’m just not a big fan of him and never did enjoy his acting in the Transformer films. He always had that clumsy persona on screen and was annoying as all hell. I’m glad he isn’t back because now we have Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager. Inventor, father and a man behind on all his payments. When he stumbles upon the remains of an old truck, Cade finds out the hard way that it’s the weakened Optimus Prime, once again voiced by the excellent Peter Cullen. However, hot on Optimus Prime’s rear is the mercenary Transformer known as Lockdown with the help of ‘Cemetery Wind’ a CIA team who will stop at nothing to destroy the Autobots.
I got to admit, I really like the basic plot of this film a lot more than I thought I would. Wait, I don’t mean this film has a basic plot, rather that the A plot of the film I found really enjoyable, in theory. Humans hunting Transformers is a really interesting premise, and the few times we see it on screen, I felt so sad for the Autobots. They begged, pleaded for mercy and even tried to escape not wanting to hurt the humans. It was so shocking to see the darker approach that Michael Bay took in these scenes, and for that I’m really grateful.
And by darker approach, I mean it’s simply deprived of humour at those points. And when it comes to a Transformers film, that is a very comforting thing. Less humour equals more enjoyment for me. Remember that Michael Bay, humour is good in little bits here and there.
As an antagonist, Lockdown works really well. He is one deadly SOB and reminds me of a Terminator whenever he shows up. Cold and deadly hunting from a distance with a BFG that pops out of his face. He has a very cool demeanour simply hunting because its his job. But why he hunts alongside the humans is beyond me. It’s shown multiple times throughout the film that he can and will handle himself against Optimus Prime. He has the firepower to take down large areas in seconds, and has a giant transforming spaceship that is capable of some pretty nifty tricks. So why he works with Cemetery Wind is just unexplained. Not only that, but he has the upper hand at all times and for the ‘help’ he receives from the humans, he will provide them with a gift that helps him in no way whatsoever.
It makes Age of Extinction seem extremely pretentious with its try hard complicated plot.
To add even more rubbish to this Lockdown plot, you have the humans. Killing Autobots for their metal bodies which are being reverse engineered to create Transformian…how original. Stanley Tucci appears as KSI owner and inventor, and now I’m sad. I love him as an actor, but mid way through, he shifts into comedy relief. Well done Michael Bay, you give us a brilliant actor and take all that away leaving him to runaround on screen fumbling over himself and turning into John Tuturro from the previous films. Both times, a missed opportunity where the easy way was taken to provide cheap laughs. Happy to say I didn’t laugh at all.
Mark Wahlberg turns in another solid performance, but I didn’t buy him as an inventor at all. He could’ve just been an ex-military guy, good with his brains, but they had to go full inventor mode. Never comes into the story at all. His daughter Tessa, played by Nicola Peltz is better than Megan Fox, but adds nothing to the story but a try hard emotional edge to her father. I can’t fault her acting chops, she does her best with what she’s given, and thankfully her short shorts are called into being ridiculous on screen by her father.
While I’m speaking of Tessa, she has a boyfriend. “He’s a racer/driver” I’m serious, that line is said in the film because its meant to be a set up for something later on? That’s what I was expecting, but no, it’s to explain how they can outrun a CIA strike team…and dropped from that point on. He never gets a chance to show his skills again and is simply in the film to provide that kiss director Michael Bay thinks we as a movie going audience need.
I’m here to inform Michael Bay we don’t really care about the humans in Transformers. I’m happy to see robots fighting each other, and don’t need to know the struggles and character ‘development’ of the humans.
Another thing not needed in this film was a good 30-45 minutes of screen time. Plus Dinobots. We didn’t needed those. At one point, Lockdown succeeds in his mission and the Autobots break into his ship to free Optimus Prime. The entire section of film wasn’t needed at all, and the end result was the acquisition of a ship. NOT NEEDED. Speaking of Dinobots, I’m a fan also, but come on Michael Bay NOT NEEDED FOR THIS MOVIE AT ALL. SIMPLY PUT HERE AS A CALL OUT TO FANS OR MAYBE FOR THE MOMENT IN THE TRAILERS WHERE OPTIMUS PRIME RIDES A T-REX.
With a rewrite this film could’ve saved itself time and money.
Speaking of money, it seems the budget was running really thin. With humans creating transformers, we are shown the results with a really bad transformation sequence. While its an interesting concept, its execution was shockingly cheap. Tiny CGI cubes fly around on screen and transform into robot mode. The animations looked so bad I could’ve sworn it looked like something out of a bad Syfy Channel disaster film. Really bad. Lockdown and the Autobots looked fantastic, and explain where the money was spent.
The soundtrack was there. Honestly, uninspiring and not something I’ll seek out. The movie looks beautiful at times, but that could be thanks to the landscape in the final sections. Apart from that, I cannot recommend this film at all to anyone. Unless you’ve seen the previous Transformer films.
Many things are pulled out of left field to move the plot along, and plot threads are dangled here and there to seem smart. I was bored and upset throughout this film all the while checking the time. Michael Bay really needs to hand this franchise off to someone else, who can actually direct actors (because sadly they aren’t going anywhere), and not make everything comic relief.
Final Thoughts: Not worth your time or money. Give it a pass and spend your money on something else worth watching. Age of Extinction comes across like a wasted opportunity and 3 hour ad.