Transformers: Age of Extinction
A gratuitously lengthy addition to Michael Bay's sci-fi action franchise, starring Mark Wahlberg
The fourth film in the Transformers franchise may mark a freshening up of sorts but it still suffers from the same problem as both previous sequels: the presence of Michael Bay. Never one to shy away from excess, Bay here outdoes his own ridiculous standards by delivering a Transformers movie that clocks in at close to three hours. And no matter how enjoyably trashy some moments are here, there’s no good reason to justify how a film that’s essentially about robots bashing other robots can be stretched out to such gargantuan lengths, especially with a plot as hole-ridden and lightweight as this.
Picking up four years after the climactic events of Dark of the Moon, the film finds the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, on the run from a shady CIA official (Kelsey Grammar), who is hunting them down to use their metal to create his own robot army with the help of an egotistical technology mogul (Stanley Tucci). Standing in their path, and carrying humanity’s hopes with them, are all-American father and daughter Cade and Tessa Yeager (Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz), as well as the latter’s Irish immigrant boyfriend (Jack Reynor). They pluck Prime from exile, give him a place to hide and prove that Earth is still worth fighting for, from yet another external alien threat.
Early on, Bay’s film just about entertains as it introduces new characters, puts the Transformers on the run and drops in some impressive set pieces. But once the first hour has passed, the bombardment begins to take its toll – and not just from the nausea-baiting camera-work but also from the excessive volume, the shameless product placement, the logic-defying storytelling and the idiotic dialogue. Franchise fans may well continue to lap it up but they really shouldn’t keep encouraging Bay to continue, especially since two further instalments are already being threatened.
General release from Thu 10 Jul.