Review by David Adams
July 4, 2014
“You cannot stop technology,” says Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci), CEO of international robotics corporation KSI. “We’re not your ‘technology,’” says autobot Optimus Prime (voice of Peter Cullen). “But we can make you now,” Joyce says. “Don’t you get it – we don’t need you anymore.” That’s the setup for this fourth chapter in the Transformers franchise – louder, longer and bigger, but not better, than its predecessors.
Will CIA director Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammar) rid the world of alien transformers? Does CEO Joyce acquire enough “transformium” (don’t ask) to manufacture human-controlled robots? Can Tessa (Nicola Peltz) and Shane (Jack Reynor), despite her inventor father’s (Mark Wahlberg) objections, get together? Find answers, if you must go, amid the noise and visual clutter of “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”
Mark Wahlberg (overprotective dad Cade Yeager), Kelsey Grammar (nasty Harold Attinger), Stanley Tucci (tyrannical CEO Joyce), Peter Cullen (voice of Optimus), John Goodman (Hound), and Ken Watanabe (Drift), skillful actors all, do their best in this action flick, but have little to work with when stuck with lines like, “Go, go!” “Move, move!” “Watch out, watch out!” “I’m good, I’m good!” and “Stop talking!” Others in the cast include Nicola Peltz as single-dad Wahlberg’s difficult teenage daughter Tessa, Jack Reynor as fast-driving, but earnest Shane, Tessa’s boyfriend, and T.J. Miller as Lucas, Wahlberg’s laidback sidekick. Tessa has what seems to be the film’s take-away when she asks her dad, “Do you think some things should not be invented?”
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” is virtually non-stop sci-fi, action- adventure of the loudest and longest kind. Director Michael Bay and writer Ehren Kruger inflict 165 minutes of big-screen car chases, gun battles, black op government bad guys, giant robots (including dinosaur transformers), smart-and fast-talking heroes, an attractive young woman in short shorts and, of course, lots of really loud, slow-motion explosions. As critic John Anderson correctly says, “It’s a boy movie, for sure.” My 15-year old friend Adam got it right, too, when I asked his opinion: “It’s just like the other ones,” he said.
Between action set-pieces and explosions, Wahlberg and Peltz discuss whether she should date and director Bay references “Butch Cassidy,” “Shane,” and John Ford’s Monument Valley films. Neither father-daughter issues nor cowboy movies have anything to do with the rest of “Extinction.”
Rated PG-13 for intense sci-fi violence and action, language and innuendo, “Extinction” runs more than 2½ hours. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
“Transformers: Extinction” –
Fast cars, explosions, guns,
Noisy and way too long –
Just like those other ones.