Review: Transformers: Age of Extinction

Optimus Prime returns to lead the charge in “Transformers: Age of Extinction”

Five years ago, the conflict between Optimus Prime, voiced by Peter Cullen (“Gremlins”), and his Autobots and Megatron, voiced by Hugo Weaving (“The Matrix,” “The Wolfman”) and his Decepticons escalated to an entirely new level at the expense of the city of Chicago, which was brought to its knees.

Since then, the rules have changed; the alliance between the Autobots and the U.S. government is long dead and now every Transformer, both Autobot and Decepticon, is in danger of being captured, experimented on, tortured and even killed.

A new era has begun. The age of the Transformers is over-Kelsey Grammer as Harold Attinger

Even though the government and the majority of humanity has washed their hands of the war, the war between Autobots and Decepticons rages on and a struggling mechanic named Cade Yeager, played by Academy Award nominee Mark Wahlberg (“The Departed,” “Lone Survivor”) and his daughter Tessa, played by Nicola Peltz (“The Last Airbender”), are going to stumble smack in the middle of it.

Mark Wahlberg joins the fight in “Transformers: Age of Extinction”

Cade is initially unaware at first, but he quickly discovers that an old truck he tows into his garage is Optimus Prime and after they officially meet, all hell breaks loose as a CIA unit led by James Savoy, played by Titus Welliver (“Argo,” “Handsome Harry”), descend on them to bring Optimus in.

Cade, Tessa and her boyfriend Shane, played by Jack Reynor, are now fugitives themselves after striking an “alliance” with Optimus.

Now the Autobot leader has a new mission: gather whoever is left of the Autobots, go after the man who is hunting them and stop them, but this new mission uncovers something more sinister than they can ever imagine.

Spearheading the termination of the Transformers is a CIA operative named Harold Attinger, played by Golden Globe winner Kelsey Grammer (“X-Men: the Last Stand,” “Toy Story 2”). Attinger has struck an agreement with a Transformer named Lockdown, voiced by Mark Ryan (“The Prestige”), a bounty hunter who has orders to bring in Optimus at the behest of his creators.

Attinger also has an agreement with Joshua Joyce, played by Academy Award nominee Stanley Tucci (“The Lovely Bones,” “The Devil Wears Prada”), president of a robotics company researching the Transformers genome in the effort to produce man-made Transformers that are accountable to humanity rather than destructive.

This is not war…it’s human extinction-Peter Cullen as the voice of Optimus Prime

Optimus and the Autobots are now fugitives, a family has been brought into the war and there are explosive consequences at all angles. Director Michael Bay (“Pearl Harbor”) returns to direct the fourth installment of his blockbuster saga, “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

This is a movie with a lot of bells, whistles, bravado, action, mayhem and flash and all of that reaches well on a visual level. Thematically, on the other hand, this could possibly be counted among one of the weakest films of the year.

The visual effects, sound, editing and camerawork are the only redeeming qualities of this spectacle. When it comes to the narrative, this film actually feels like a proper sequel to the original “Transformers” because Michael Bay and screenwriter Ehren Kruger (“Dream House,” “The Brothers Grimm”) finally moved away from the Shia LeBeouf, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson etc, model and actually tried to do something different with different characters.

However, the fact that this movie has a snowball-effect feel to it makes the film lose all discernible credibility. The fact that this family from Texas is pulled into all of this madness is nothing short of madness itself.

Also the plot-holes are obvious to the trained eye and those plot-holes make the film seem so unfinished and the visual splendor is there to fill in the gaps in the story. This movie is essentially a visually splendid spoof.

The cast doesn’t do any favors to save this film at all. The actors simply take a backseat to the giant robots fighting, blasting things, breathing fire, transforming and the endless explosions and debris flying all over the setting.

“Transformers: Age of Extinction” is a decent way to kill a few hours if you want to watch a CGI fireworks show, nice cars that drive fast, but take all of the bells and whistles away, there is absolutely nothing redeeming about it.

It lives up to its reputation as a bigger, bolder and badder model of “Transformers” but like it falls into the trap of being a poorly constructed, shallow and listless action movie that is all flash and no substance. It kills time, and has a few “wow” moments, but it isn’t all that is cracked up to be.

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