Michael Bay’s latest is an interminable clunker
Director Michael Bay seems to be taunting his haters at this point, employing all of those things that sicken his detractors, and cranking everything up to despicably disgusting levels.
It’s as if, with Transformers: Age of Extinction, the director is saying, “I’m Michael Bay, and I’m going to get away with cinematic murder! You will buy the toys. You will swill Bud Light out of those wacky blue aluminum things. You will shell out for the IMAX. You will leer along with me at this girl’s ass in slow motion. I … AM … MICHAEL … BAY!”
For starters, this damn movie is nearly three hours long. I’m an advocate of long movies when those movies are at least decent. This thing has no right for a single tick past the 90-minute mark. Had Bay just knocked it off with his slo-mo shots, he probably could’ve shaved a half hour. Had he gotten rid of all the inane lines the characters mutter in this donkey shit, he could’ve brought the whole thing in at 30 minutes.
Replacing Shia LaBeouf as the franchise’s leading man is Mark Wahlberg. He plays Cade Yeager, a crazy robot inventor living on a farm with his smoking-hot daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz).
In between stints trying to make clunky robots—there’s actually a sequence where Wahlberg lovingly tries to show a newborn robot how to paint—Cade is busy trying to stop his daughter from ever having sex. He also threatens real estate agents showing his soon-to-be-foreclosed property by chasing them with a baseball bat. He, simply put, is one of the worst fathers on a movie screen in years.
The action picks up four years after the annihilation of Chicago in the last Transformers movie, which, apparently, has been completely restored because Bay includes shots of some cranes picking up beams and stuff. The Autobots are on the run because CIA agent Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) has decided they’re the enemy because they’re aliens. Michael Bay is getting political.
Soon after buying a beat-up truck hiding out in an abandoned movie theater, Cade discovers it’s actually Autobot leader Optimus Prime. He nurses the robot thing back to health with the help of buddy Lucas (T.J. Miller), much to the chagrin of Tessa, who trolls about pouting in impossibly tight denim shorts and high heels.
A black-ops government team commanded by Attinger eventually winds up on Cade’s lawn, and the focus, if you can call it that, then shifts to Stanley Tucci as Joshua, a Steve Jobs-like tech mogul, and his army of Autobot clones.
The real Autobots eventually will face off against the fake Autobots, and we’ll see ads for Chevy cars, beer, China, denim-ass porn and Texas along the incredibly long way.
The Transformers themselves look cool, especially when they transform (although Bay, even with his mega budget and wealth of running time, cuts corners and skips some transformations by showing an Autobot in one shot, and then their vehicle in the next). There’s also a sequence where some characters have to walk on a high wire between an alien ship and a skyscraper that’s pretty good. That’s about all of the nice stuff I can say.
Bay says that this is the first in a new trilogy. If you should choose to see part one, make sure all of your bills are paid, the dogs are fed, and you’ve winter-proofed your house before you sit down, because you aren’t getting out of that theater for a very long time.