Cast - Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Sophia Myles, Li Bingbing, Titus Welliver, TJ Miller, Melanie Specht, Victoria Summer, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker
Director - Michael Bay
Rating - **1/2
The fourth instalment in the already overdone Transformers franchise, works more like a spin-off story, in the sense that it doesn't include a single member of the original human cast. Of course, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee are there to add some sense of familiarity, but it still doesn't really connect that much to the earlier movies, except establishing that it's within the same timeline.
The consistent part of the latest film is that it has everything that the first three films had - a lot of action, bigger and better special effects, and war between automated sentient robots. Although this film does add a little more flavour, but well, not much. The latter films of Michael Bay are a far cry from some of his stronger features like Bad Boys and Armageddon. The newer films focus more on over the top action and cardboard like leading characters while sacrificing on developed story-lines and personal connections with the characters. Although Age of Extinction is a step up from the previous films, it's still exactly what you'd expect from a Transformers film - All action, no story.
The film revolves around Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager, a self pronounced inventor and his life altering find which turns out to be the leader of the Autobots Optimus Prime in a severely wounded state. This leads to pretty much the same plot as all the films, wherein, the American government, all knowing as they are, want to build defence protocols to combat the alien robots (even though the Autobots pretty much save them in all of the films).
The action of the film revolves around a nefarious plot by Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) and Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) as they try to harness the metallic material of the Transformers to create their own versions of the alien robots. Only thing is they're using material from Autobots and Decpticons alike, hunting down those who protected the human race in the first three films. A sub-plot of the film involves Lockdown, an intergalactic mercenary, who is a Transformer with no allegiance, and his introduction indicates a bigger plot-point which will most likely be explored in the next film (Yep, there's one more).
Wahlberg does much better as the lead, more charismatic than LaBeouf ever was, and helms the new film quite well. Galvatron makes his first live action appearance albeit with slightly different origins than the original source material. Tucci has some of the funniest scenes in the movie, taking over the humorous role that John Turturro had in the first three films. Kelsey Grammer although in the film fails to make any real impression, while Nicola Peltz is basically just eye candy. One major turn off of the film is the length. It's an almost 3 hour film that stretches so long for irrelevant plot-points and unnecessary action sequences. The first half is actually quite engaging, but the second half drags on too long, basically making you question when this will end.
One redeeming element in the film is the special effects. The robots appear to be more fluid, the 3-D is well worth it, and the action sequences are brilliantly choreographed. The Dinobots in particular were well animated, and the sheer power behind them resonated throughout their fight scene. The visual experience of this film is at a much higher level than its predecessors, with great fight scenes between the alien robots.
Over and above, the experience is basically what you'd expect from a Transformers film, with just a little bit more. For all the fans of the franchise and those interested in entertaining action in general, this film is a good way to kill a few hours.