Crash and burn

Robot/car franchise sinks to new depths in fifth film

Just Marky Mark savin’ the human race.

Just Marky Mark savin’ the human race.

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel and Laura Haddock. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7. Rated PG-13.
Rated 1.0

Transformers: The Last Knight gets the dubious distinction of being the worst in the series.

That is some sort of major accomplishment. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to look at this collective pile of movie manure and decipher which of the five is the worst. It’s like going to a frat house the first week of a semester at Dickhead University and trying to pick out the dumbest, drunkest douchebag in the place. All of the qualifiers are terribly, criminally lame.

I’m giving Transformers: The Last Knight the award of franchise worst because it’s just so clear how every participant in this enterprise—from director Michael Bay right on down to the production assistant who smeared glycerin on Mark Wahlberg’s pecs—is jaded, tired and played out. Nobody really wants to be in this thing. The stink of “Who gives a shit—just pay me!” hits your nostrils with Wahlberg’s first line delivery.

Yes, Wahlberg, who has the honor of essentially being Shia LaBeouf’s stand-in for the series, returns for his second round, and he looks embarrassed. He should be. He’s publicly declared that this is his last Transformers movie, with his performance and demeanor indicating he checked out the day cameras started rolling. You just get the sense of a guy who is mocking the whole thing.

Also along for the ride, the formerly acclaimed Sir Anthony Hopkins, acting all nutty like he did in Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, when in fact this is a Michael Bay film.

I can’t pretend to tell you what happens in this flick. I know Optimus Prime was frozen and floating toward his home planet when he gets sucked into some sort of scheme to betray his race and all humans. His part is kind of like Vin Diesel’s in the last Fast & Furious movie, that of the pawn in somebody else’s evil scheme who probably won’t go rogue for the entire film. The big difference here is that Optimus Prime doesn’t get to mush his mouth all over Charlize Theron’s and, it goes without saying, the giant robot has a greater acting range than Diesel does.

The best part of this movie is when Hopkins inexplicably goes to Stonehenge to witness a robot battle, which leads to the silliest death scene ever.

Other folks who show up include John Turturro, whose “I’m in a Transformers movie, but it’s OK because I’ve sold out in an unorthodox, hip sort of way!” shtick got tired four films ago, and the voices of John Goodman and Steve Buscemi. That’s actually three-quarters of a The Big Lebowski reunion. I’m surprised they didn’t throw some money at Jeff Bridges to deliver a few lines. That would’ve been the most novel thing in the movie.

Transformers: The Last Knight plays like a Worst of Michael Bay sizzle reel. It’s 2 1/2 hours of things smashing into each other in fast-cut fashion, accompanied by bombastic music and lots of crane and slo-mo shots. In other words, it’s exactly what we’ve come to expect at this point.