The Transformers movies have become a summer staple, grossing just over $1 Billion dollars worldwide. Now in its 4th installment, Transformers: Age of Extinction, the entire cast has been overhauled. Even with this change, Michael Bay doesn’t stray from the same tired formula that raked in the money on the previous films. There is lots of dude/bro action, a damsel in distress, horrible dialog, and most of the cast playing extreme caricatures. While fun at times, it is hard to overlook the glaring problems.
Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) is an inventor/tech expert from middle of nowhere Texas who happens upon the broken down version of Optimus Prime. Cade is able to revive him, because of course, Optimus is found by someone with the exact skill set needed to fix him. The plot revolves around humans becoming the enemy to the Autobots and Optimus has to get the band back to together to stop the humans from murdering the Autobots one by one. It is actually a pretty cool premise and directly relates to the destruction of Chicago in the previous film. Unfortunately, this premise is poorly executed. The only praise I can give this movie is that it is the longest movie I’ve seen this year at 2 hours and 45 minutes of unedited footage. There was so much in this movie but what it needed most was an editor. Maybe the editor could have cut out all of the obvious product placement throughout the movie such as Cade stopping to drink a Bud Light while the city is being attacked or a Beats Pill speaker being shoved in your face.
The movie was funny at times but for all the wrong reasons. The dialog got a number of laughs, all of which were not intentional. We meet four characters from Texas: Cade with a Boston accent, his friend/business partner who is a surfer (because who wouldn’t want to surf those renowned waves in the middle of Texas), Cade’s daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) who has no accent, and her boyfriend who has an Irish accent for some reason. Cade is not only a struggling inventor but also a horrible parent. Why he decides to bring his daughter along for this extremely dangerous adventure is beyond me.
The group travels to Chicago to find the company that is helping the US government destroy the Autobots and build new transformers for them to control. The government has aligned with a tech company run by the worst on screen version of Steve Jobs, which is conveniently located in Chicago, to help them build the new transformers out of a new material called…wait for it…transformium. The government official, played by Kelsey Grammer, also has an agreement with another alien transformer, Lockdown, who wants to capture Optimus. How that meeting happened was of course never explained. I’m guessing he just rang him on his alien cell phone and they hashed out the details.
Tessa plays the same role all the women do in Michael Bay movies, a hot damsel that can do little but be pretty and run away. Even running away is a problem for her as in one sequence she falls down four times after taking a few steps because running is hard sometimes. She is a 17 year old character dating a 20 year old guy that carries a laminated copy of the “Romeo and Juliet Law” in his wallet to justify the statutory rape in their relationship. So, he’s a real winner and a guy that a dad would meet and want to take on this adventure with his daughter. Again, Cade is just waiting to receive that father of the year award.
Michael Bay still hasn’t learned from his previous Transformer films as the group of Autobots consists of more racial stereotypes and they are just as offensive. There is a Samurai Autobot that has broken English and he even brings back Brains, the mini robot who sounds like he is straight out of Compton and was the source of many complaints in the last Transformers movie.
The Dinobots do make an appearance for the first time in the Transformers series but not until very late in the film. Seeing them was some of the only enjoyment I had in the last hour of the film. Unfortunately, it is far too little too late. If you love the previous Transformers, camera upshots and American flags in almost every shot then maybe you will enjoy Age of Extinction. I found that the only thing that went extinct was my time and a few brain cells.