Transformers: Age of Extinction
Big, dumb and fun.
June 30, 2014
There are several truths to the Michael Bay Universe:
1. Magic Hour (i.e. the brief period just after sunrise or before sunset) lasts for approximately 22 hours in any given day.
2. Everything is explosive. Even Water. Especially water.
3. All explosions go predominantly 'up' and emit firework-like flares.
4. A shot should never go for more than three seconds, because, what is this, a Steve McQueen film?
5. There's nothing funnier than people who aren't Cool-Arse Playaz from Da Street speaking like they're Cool-Arse Playaz from Da Street (see: grandparents and/or cars).
6. Pretty girls wear heels. Even if they're ice-skating. Even if they're mountaineering. Even if they're spelunking. Even if they're blowing stuff 'up' or being blown up.
7. The higher the heel, the shorter the skirt.
8. The shorter the skirt, the lower the cut of the top.
9. Physics is bullshit, and should apply to neither action sequences nor breasts.
10. Blow something else up. Make sure it goes 'up'.
The thing about the Bay Universe, though, is that it's so much fun. Big, dumb and fun. You know what you're going to get when you buy your ticket, and you get total value for money when you do. On that front, Transformers: Age of Extinction doesn't fail to deliver. Just on length alone, you're getting almost three hours of film, which is an hour too long from a critical standpoint, but from a Bay Movie perspective, it's the promise of several hundred more explosions, car chases and outrageous racial stereotypes.
As for plot (and yes, there is one…just...), Transformers: Edge of Extinction picks up the story several years down the track from where the initial Shia Labeouf trilogy left off. Our new hero is Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), a Texan inventor whose ranch is in receivership and whose predictably hot teenage daughter (Nicola Peltz) is on the cusp of graduation. Around the world, all the Transformers — Decepticon and Autobot — are being hunted down by the CIA (led by Kelsey Grammer), and a mysterious third-party Transformer/bounty hunter named Lockdown. It's an uncomfortable alliance through which each party furthers its own sinister agenda, and which threatens to end all life on earth.
As the inexplicably overweight truck that even more inexplicably smokes cigars would say, "bummer, dude" (refer to Truth No.5).
There's nothing especially new here, save for the 3D, which is, admittedly, extensive and impressive, as well as the introduction of Dinobots, which fans of the comics/cartoons will doubtless appreciate. The performances are solid despite a laughably bad script, most notably from Stanley Tucci as the unscrupulous tech billionaire. The film's highlights centre almost exclusively around Lockdown, who makes for an outstanding villain, not in the least because his character actually has one.
Now if you'll excuse me, it's time to blow something up.
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