Transformers: Age of Extinction takes place five years after the events of the last Transformers movie 'Dark of the Moon' and ever since the global attack that very nearly wiped out humanity. We have all grown to be fearful of the transformers, whether they be Autobots or Decepticons, it doesn't matter. We're becoming paranoid of them, even the ones who once fought with us are now finding themselves being hunted down by a black ops team that's being organized by Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) and is spearheaded by James Savoy (Titus Welliver). Harold has also been in collusion with the intergalactic bounty hunter known as Lockdown who's hunting down all the transformers with extreme prejudice, if you get my drift. After sustaining heavy losses Optimus Prime goes into hiding and retreats from the world for a while, bitter and disillusioned.
Meanwhile, down in rural Texas a struggling inventor, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) happens across a decrepit old truck that he comes to believe is a transformer. Seriously though, when they are going to realize that Mark Wahlberg has strengths as an actor (tough guy, asshole, smart ass) and weaknesses (literary professor, scientist, inventor). You're never going to convince me that Mark Wahlberg is some sort of genius inventor, it's just not going to happen, stop trying to force it. Cade struggles to control his rebellious and 'Michael Bay hot' daughter, Tessa Yeager (Nicola Peltz) and is also trying to ward off her race car driver boyfriend, Shane Dyson (Jack Reynor) at every opportunity.
When Cade sparks Optimus Prime back to life, Optimus is a wee bit grumpy and distrustful of them, but soon realizes that they're not a threat until they unintentionally lure Lockdown to their home. Optimus Prime escapes with the family in tow, but Cade is now without a home and his family is wanted by the authorities. During the melee Cade managed to lift a bit of software that leads them to Kinetic Solutions Incorporated (KSI) where the CEO Joshua Joyce (Stanly Tucci) is playing with some very dangerous transformers technology that's been upgraded by transformium, and yes, that's really what it's called. Transformium is almost as bad as Unobtanium, but the results are visually impressive when Joshua manages to make Galvatron, a kind of nano-technological transformer that turns out to be the reincarnation of Megatron, and that he has access to dozens of other man-made transformers. Once again the humans must convince the transformers that we're worth protecting, although that'd have to be a pretty tough sell at this point, and come together to fight the common enemy that hunts both humans and machines.
Transformers is one of those divisive franchises that you either love purely as a spectacle of robots fighting robots, or you hate as it pontificates with jingoistic notions about freedom and so forth. The same came be said about Michael Bay, you either love him or you hate him, add those two elements together and you're sure to get a contentious movie. I'm not as predisposed to hate on Michael Bay as many others are, The Rock, Pain and Gain and Bad Boys are all fantastic movies, but by this point in his career Michael Bay is becoming a parody of himself and Age of Extinction only manages to reinforce the existence of his 'bayisms' all too well. Age of Extinction is big, it's loud, it's gaudy and it's ridiculously long. I had to pause Age of Extinction three times just to finish it. I'm glad I didn't see this monster in the cinema.
I thought the Transformers were well individualized and easily identifiable this time around. You could actually make out who was who, and who was doing what to who without squinting. The action was well conceptualized and the robots were all clearly defined in battle. In the previous Transformers movies it could be difficult to make exactly what was going on, but this aspect was largely rectified in Age of Extinction. Most of the trademark Michael Bay humor has been toned down a lot too, it's still there from time to time, but it's nowhere near as bad as it was in his previous installments.
Age of Extinction needed some serious editing though because no Transformers movie should go for almost three hours, some three hour movies just fly by, but Age of Extinction is not one of them. The entire subplot of Tessa and Shane could have been cut completely and it wouldn't have mattered, they were entirely extraneous. I liked Kelsey Grammer and I wish I saw more of him in the movie. I thought the plot was actually playing with some rather interesting ideas from time to time, but they were generally brushed aside for more action.
Everyone knows what to expect when they go see a Transformers movie by now, and most people know if it's something they'll enjoy or not. Age of Extinction didn't bring anything new to the franchise, except for the updated visuals and the glorified cameo of the Dino-bots, but Age of Extinction is definitely a better effort than Revenge of the Fallen and probably Dark of the Moon was too, and can somebody please give Bumblebee a voice box? Seriously, four movies in and still nothing? Get on that shit!
Written by - The Sentry - 19/09/2014