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‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ Review: Starring Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci & Kelsey Grammer

Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox…you were really missed. The Transformers films have just not been the same since Fox left the franchise after 2009’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. 2007’s Transformers is everything a good action movie should be and it certainly has the best screenplay and storyline out of all four films. Even though everyone thinks that sequel was garbage, at least we had LaBeouf and Fox’s electric chemistry that carried the human storyline throughout the film. 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon provided a more coherent storyline, a decent villain and had several fun action sequences that would make a Transformers fan squeal, but it was overlong and only half as good as the first.

Director Michael Bay’s fourth installment to his summer blockbuster franchise is the worst in the series. Mark Wahlberg is a great actor, but there’s no chemistry between his character and Optimus Prime or the rest of the Autobots. I really missed LaBeouf and Bumblee’s relationship from the first three films. It’s also two hours and 37 minutes, which is about an hour and a half too long from what it should be.

Picking up shortly after the Battle of Chicago that left the city destroyed, lives lost and Autobots being hunted down, we meet small-town Texas mechanic Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg). Cade and his buddy Lucas (T.J. Flannery) buy an old truck to fix up in their repair shop, hoping they can later sell it and make some much needed money so Cade and his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) can afford their mortgage. After a few pokes and shocks, Cade discovers that this just isn’t any old truck, it’s a Transformer, and not just any Transformer, but Optimus Prime.

transformers age of extinction mark wahlberg

Once the government finds out that Cade is housing Optimus Prime, they send their minions to his Texas farm, threatening him and his family until he tells them where Optimus is. This sparks a chain of events and all of a sudden it’s the Yeager family, Tessa’s randomly Irish racecar driver boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor), Optimus Prime and the other Autobots (including voice performances by John Goodman and Ken Watanabe) against the men that want to take the Autobots down and the big bad Autobots floating around in space.

The film is way too long and although some of the action sequences are great (Dinobots!), they become too repetitive and tiresome to watch over and over again. For some reason, Bay shot the film in three different aspect ratios and the movie keeps switching back from standard 35 MM to full IMAX screen almost every other shot. It’s way too distracting and it makes it look like he doesn’t know what he is doing. Why didn’t he just shoot the entire film in IMAX??

Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor’s romance storyline is weak and the two actors have little on-screen presence unlike LaBeouf and Fox (or even LaBeouf and Whiteley). There’s idiotic lines throughout the film with these two including Reynor’s character saying to Wahlberg, “Just to be clear, I’m saving my girlfriend, I’m not saving your daughter.” Uhhh, isn’t that one in the same and a huge slap in the face to the man you are trying to score points with?? Also, Peltz must scream “Dad!!!,” 15,000 times throughout the film. If those lines were cut, the film would’ve been at least a half hour shorter.

transformers 4 optimus prime

The film has a few saving graces including the lyrical score by Steve Jablonsky (2013’s Lone Survivor) paired with appropriately named Imagine Dragons’ song “Battle Cry.” I have to admit that Linkin Park was missed, but the Imagine Dragons song captured the theme that Bay was going for. And thank goodness for Stanley Tucci, who was easily the best actor in the movie and makes any film better. Tucci plays Joshua Joyce, the not so humble Autobot researcher who has an adorable crush on fellow Chinese researcher Su Yueming (Bingbing Li).

Transformers: Age of Extinction needed a better screenplay, in other words, one with an actual storyline and more chemistry between the Autobots and humans. And also, this is the only film I can say this about, but it really needed Shia LaBeouf.

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