There’s a certain expectation about what you’re going to get when you sit down for a Michael Bay blockbuster. You expect that things will explode, character development will be thin and plot will be thinner. In Transformers: Age Of Extinction, however, it’s beyond a joke: it’s full-blown Michael Bayhem.
Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers beyond this point, but for the love of all things holy, it’s a Transformers movie. It doesn’t matter.
Usually when we review a film, we first describe to you a brief overview of the plot, talk about the effects, the action and mention the problems as we saw them. With this review, it’s hard to even begin, mostly because there are about six different plots going on at once. I’ll try my best here.
The film centres around Cade Yeager, played by Mark Wahlberg, and his daughter Tessa Yeager, played by Nicola Peltz. It’s worth noting that I had to look up both of their character names: the film makes no effort getting you to remember who they are. It’s just Marky Mark and his daughter.
We’re also introduced to the excellent T.J Miller early on, who is part of Marky Mark’s salvage and repair business, and some Irish guy that plays boyfriend to the daughter character.
Marky Mark and T.J Miller locate an old truck and purchase it in order to strip it down, before discovering that they’ve happened upon a wounded Optimus Prime. The government seems to hate Transformers these days, so the discovery brings an elite CIA death squad down on Marky Mark’s family, leading to the unfortunate death of T.J Miller early on in the piece.
Here’s where it starts to go sideways: the CIA death squad is actually in the secret employ of a Transformer bounty-hunter from another world who wants Optimus Prime for his trophy case of kills. In exchange, bounty-hunter Transformer will give the head of the CIA death squad — played by Kelsey Grammer — a Macguffin called “The Seed”.
Together with Stanley Tucci’s character — an evil Steve Jobs of sorts — Kelsey Grammer will use The Seed to turn organic matter into a metal called Transformium (still with me?) to make new and better transformer robots for the private sector.
Cue the Yaeger family and the creepy boyfriend character getting involved in the massive search for the bounty hunter Transformer and The Seed in order to save the world with the help of the Autobots.
In any other movie, even a bonkers Transformers movie, the CIA death squad hunting the family storyline would be enough to fill one 90-minute movie. Chase, fight, resolve, happily ever after. In Age Of Extinction, it’s just one plot in what reads like a script written in one never-ending game of Mad Libs.
I say never-ending because the film goes for THREE. HOURS. The rumoured budget for the film is $165 million, which means that for every minute of running time, $1 million was spent. What a waste.
It’s an appalling abuse of your time, your intelligence and your patience for general Michael Bay tropes.
Every 20 minutes you’re assaulted with another terrible product placement piece: at one point Marky Mark crashes into a Bud Light truck, before arguing with the driver, cracking one open and drinking it before threatening to assault him. 30 minutes later, a Transformer crashes through a bus bearing a large Victoria’s Secret ad. That’s two out of about 10 examples we saw.
There are scenes in there that completely defy comprehension. At one point after the Yaeger family has been chased by the Feds, we’re subjected to a 10-minute scene about why the relationship between the daughter character and the creepy Irish boyfriend isn’t statutory rape according to Texas law. What the fuck?!
There are so many problems with Transformers: Age Of Extinction that we can barely cover them all in one review without spontaneously combusting. There’s pointless fight after pointless fight and stupid dialogue after stupid dialogue. It got to a point in the middle where if you had asked me to describe the events that had happened half an hour ago in the film, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. That was the point I considered walking out.
The only way I would recommend Tranformers: Age Of Extinction is if you’re with a group of your funniest, drunkest friends. It’s a B-movie in every possible way, and B-movies require alcohol and laughter to get through.
There has already been a sequel confirmed for 2017, and I can’t wait to not see it.
Tranformers: Age Of Extinction opens on 27 June.