Monday 17 November 2014

Today's Review: Transformers: Age Of Extinction

If there's one thing the world didn't need, I'd say it was another Michael Bay Transformers movie. But hey, here it is, making that trilogy a quadrilogy, but also initiating a "soft reboot" that will inevitably form another trilogy. Can this be a new start for a franchise of over-long, poorly written explosion-fests? 

Mark Wahlberg stars (oh man, not a great start) as Cade Yeager, a down on his luck inventor who stumbles upon a beaten up truck that he wishes to sell for parts. Upon close inspection, he find that it's actually Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, forced into hiding after some particularly villainous top level humans started to hunt down his buddies. But why are the Autobots being targeted? What form is the new evil behind this threat? Most importantly, will Cade be able to fix the relationship with his daughter while being blown up and thrown around by giant robots?

I won't say much more about the plot, mostly because the story takes a turn every half hour, but also because none of it is explained very well. There are villains, but they simply exist to look menacing and fire missiles, their motivations are rarely well explained. Sure, there's some semblance of a story, but it only serves to connect gigantic battle scenes. I say that the plot twists occur every half hour, and that would be fine for a regular length movie, but this one consists of five half hours, and with each passing one I lost even more interest in what was going on. 

As much as the story and motivation of the characters is rushed through, in true Michael Bay fashion there's always room for one liners, especially in life threatening situations. Even directly after being crushed, thrown and probably singed, the characters can always muster up the strength to make a sarcastic comment. I don't think I can blame the actors too much for this. I've been starting to like Mark Wahlberg a little more lately, but with this script in his hand he seems to have receded back into his The Happening style of acting. Even with some greats like Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, and John Goodman as a Transformer, all the performances fall flat under the strain of some pretty poor writing.

But hey, we didn't come here for talking, we came here for the action, right? Well, Age Of Extinction certainly delivers on that front. While the movie certainly has its fair share of stupid, shoehorned in, "comedic" moments, there's always a battle around the corner, filled with scraping metal, massive guns and exploding buildings. I can't really fault the action itself, the effects are as impressive as you're gonna get, and there's enough fire and shrapnel to keep any blockbuster fan happy. But in the end, it still doesn't quite distract from the fact that this movie is so long. The quiet, poorly written, human-filled quiet segments seem to get longer every time, and even the action scenes start to drag a bit. There's only so much flying robot body parts I can look at in one sitting. 

Transformers: Age Of Extinction looked like it could have been a new start to the franchise. But it's just turned out to be an extension of it. It's long, and full of explosions and terrible acting. If it's a blockbuster action movie you're after, this certainly looks nice enough, but don't expect to find much substance underneath.

My rating: 2/5

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