After the fight between the Autobots and Decepticons leveled Chicago, the U.S. government no longer wants transformers in their country, let alone on the planet. Led by Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammar) of the CIA, a strike team called “Cemetery Wind” hunts down and kills the remaining Autobots with the help of bounty hunter, Lockdown (voiced by Mark Ryan). But Optimus Prime manages to escape and hide out in Paris, Texas, where he meets Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), a failed robotics inventor, and his daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz). When Cade and Tessa suddenly become targets of the CIA for helping Optimus, they hit the road with Tessa’s boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor) and the remaining Autobots. Together, the humans and Autobots learn that KSI, a technology firm headed by Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci), is building their own transformers, including Galvatron, who’s been built using the remaining brain of Megatron, who hacks the robot in order to find and use a “Seed” containing Transformium to turn mankind into a transformer army.
If you read through the plot above and thought it was confusing and/or stupid, it’s not you. The plot is literally that f***ing dumb.
Welcome to the fourth round of Michael Bay destroys your childhood memories so he can make billions off of movie consumers who keep feeding his perverted, bad filmmaking wet dreams.
Why does this movie exist? Don’t get me wrong—Transformers was great. It had a character-driven narrative and awesome special effects, and it introduced us to loveable, blockbuster-worthy robots. I’m not ashamed to admit I loved it (though there are still some things wrong with it). Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, however, fell into the “sequel trap,” where it was entertaining, but it kind of sucked. Transformers: Dark of the Moon is when I lost interest in the franchise, much like the rest of the movie-going populace. But enough people saw the third film to greenlight a fourth. So here we are today.
I don’t even know where to start my complaints with this movie. I won’t go into all of the ridiculous plot holes (because I know you don’t care), but I will say this—the never-ending explosions, the stunts that are almost identical to the stunts in the other three Transformers movies, the careless editing, and the WTF story makes this movie so unbearable that I was bored and laughing when I wasn’t supposed to.
Let’s talk about the human characters. No more Sam, Sam’s parents, Mikaela (or her awful replacement Carly), Captain Lennox, Sergeant Epps, or Agent Simmons. Now, we have new people to get to know. Except we don’t really get to know them…or care about them. In fact, you can’t even remember half of their names because they’re said all of once or twice in the film. It’s a bad sign when I have to look up the names of the lead characters (that, of course, being Cade, Tessa, and Shane). It also didn’t help that we were following secondary storylines with Harold Attinger, Joshua Joyce, Darcy Tirrel (Sophia Myles), James Savoy (Titus Welliver), and Su Yueming (Li Bingbing).
To make matters worse, Mark Wahlberg’s Cade, who was supposed to be our Sam-like hero working alongside the Autobots, was sloppily crafted using the “good guy sob story” formula. Dead wife? Check. Hot teenage daughter? Check. Can’t pay bills? Check. Hard-working American stereotype? Check. Too bad it’s like watching cardboard act.
And then there’s the Autobots. These movies just keep adding new transformers for what seems like nothing other than comic relief. For example, Drift (voiced by Ken Watanabe), who’s a BLATANT Asian stereotype, is a goddamn samurai (even though he’s a Bugatti?) who talks about the will of a warrior and blah blah blah more offensive stuff. You’d think Michael Bay would learn his lesson after he got in trouble with Skids and Mudflap in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
But, hey, we need more Autobots because there are about a million different villains in Transformers: Age of Extinction for them to fight! Lockdown, Harold Attinger and James Savoy of the CIA, Joshua Joyce (who’s bad until the movie’s climax), and Galvatron/Megatron (THEY’VE KILLED HIM THREE TIMES)—they’re all antagonistic forces, yet none of them actually threaten the protagonists. Actually, they’re more like plot devices to move us from scene to scene.
“But what about the awesome dinobots we saw in the trailer?” you might be asking. Well, Michael Bay basically just gives you a giant finger. Those gimmicky dinobots that look really freaking cool? Yeah, they’re in the last 30 minutes of the movie, and they really don’t add much to the plot. Truthfully, the dinobots were the only thing I was excited about with this movie, but by the time we got to them, it was nothing more than a major letdown.
Fortunately, there are enough cheesy monologues about ethics from Optimus Prime (which seem copied-and-pasted from the other Transformers movies) and product placements for GM, Victoria’s Secret, Red Bull, Lamborghini, Bugatti, and Bud Light to entertain you. Because, let’s be honest, nothing else in this movie will.
Overall, Transformers: Age of Extinction is an example of how easy it is for a director to throw together a piece-of-shit film and make billions off of people who fall for explosions, hot girls, and gimmicky special effects that aren’t even original anymore. For the love of god, please do not see this movie. Not only will you hate yourself afterward, but it will only keep giving Michael Bay reasons to make bad movies (See: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which comes out in August).
Transformers: Age of Extinction: D
For my radio review of Transformers: Age of Extinction on “Pat & JT in the Morning,” visit this link (starts around the 22:39 mark).