Director: Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Stanley Tucci
Release Date (US): 27th June, 2014
Company: Paramount Pictures
“How do you say “Get the fuck out of the way” in Chinese?” – Joshua Joyce
Transformers: Age Of Extinction is the fourth instalment in the much-maligned but commercially triumphant Transformers franchise. Directed, once again, by the infamous Michael Bay (The Rock), the film stars Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter) as Cade Yeager – a Texas mechanic struggling to provide for his teenage daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz, Avatar: The Last Airbender). Trouble brews when Cade gets his hands on an old truck, later revealed to be Optimus Prime, who is being hunted by the government.
Revenge Of The Fallen and Dark Of The Moon screenwriter Ehren Kruger takes up the writing duties once more here – with equally mediocre results. Naturally, the story is this movie’s biggest problem, and it’s not helped by a disproportionate amount of attention spent on the new human characters – especially the laboured father/daughter conflict between Cade, Tessa and her boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor, The Delivery Man).
The over-arching plot is undermined by the multiple different threats – both human and alien – that build towards over-complicated results. The film could have been a lot better (and, not to mention, shorter) had it been more streamlined. The movie also recycles a lot of the themes from Dark Of The Moon, making it quite repetitive. Additionally, the dialogue in this instalment may be the worst yet. “My face, is my warrant!” *shudders*.
“A new era has begun. The age of the Transformers is over…” – Harold Attinger
The decision to use Mark Wahlberg as the lead ends up being a smart one. Not only does he have more of a physical presence than Shia LaBeouf , he also adds something that his infamous predecessor never quite managed – the ability to take the protagonist seriously. Elsewhere, Nicola Peltz is a complete passenger as Cade’s useless daughter and only serves as eye-candy, while Reynor is similarly forgettable, despite offering a few laughs.
A lot of credit for making a lot of this movie bearable has to go to Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada), whose sleazy Joshua is a joy to watch. Villain Kelsey Grammar (Boss) is menacing, but suffers from terrible writing, and while I could listen to Peter Cullen all day, the rest of the voice-work is pretty weak. Sophia Myles (Tristan & Isolde) is criminally underused – her role undermined by a pretty Chinese actress with very little acting ability, who seems to have been included just to placate the movie’s Chinese investors.
Direction & Tone
Despite all his explosions and shameless product placement, Bay’s style of directing can be quite entertaining. That said, the style and tone of this film reeks of a shameless studio money-making scheme. The film also suffered from changes to Steve Jablonsky’s score – which felt far more monotonous this time around. While the comedy/drama balance was much-improved, the action sequences and car chases were as dragged out as ever.
- At one point the movie refers to the “1300” lives lost in the events of the third movie. I’m calling bullshit…
- “Get out of the way… Just hit ’em, just hit ’em!” – I love Stanley Tucci. Even in this movie.
- Many have speculated that Michael Bay only returned to this franchise for the money. I’m not so sure. I reckon he saw last year’s Man Of Steel and decided he wanted to win back his title of ‘most destructive 2½ hours in movie history’
- That said, Bay has since removed himself from Transformers 5. Unfortunately, it appears the even less talented Jonathan Liebesman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) is in line to take his place. God help us all…
- At the end of the day, this movie will always have Optimus Prime riding a fucking dinosaur.
Plagued by a plot that’s both too long and too complicated, there’s nothing new or exciting enough to suggest that the fourth entry in the Transformers series is anything more than a studio cash-grab. That said, there are solid turns from Stanley Tucci and Mark Wahlberg.