Transformers: Age of Extinction (12A) - 'incredibly dreary chase movie'
Fantasy. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Jack Reynor, Nicola Peltz, Kelsey Grammar, Stanley Tucci, Titus Welliver. Directed by Michael Bay. Cert 12A
Set five years in the future after whatever happened in Transformers 3 (my mental 'recycle' bin took care of that within an hour of penning the review) the latest instalment in Michael Bay's revenue-generating franchise features a new set of disposable humans doing things until we get to the real object of the exercise, which is CGI robots knocking the crap out of each other. And there's an awful lot of that.
Essentially, after the last bout of cyber-carnage the Autobots (good Transformers) who were our allies have now been targeted by a shadowy government agency, led by a nervous-looking Kelsey Grammar. Luckily for Optimus he's been discovered by robotics engineer Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlber) in a disused old cinema, where the owner makes a crack about how 'sequels and remakes' ruined the movie-going busienss. Hey, that's a joke in a Michael Bay movie just there!
Anyway, Yeager, his daughter Tess (Nicola Peltz, simply there to provide token girly screams and give Bay the opportunity to bring his camera close to her bottom) and her rally driver boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor) come under the scrutiny of said shadowy agency and thus begins a long and incredibly dreary chase movie involving alien space-ships, metal dinosaurs and a trip to China.
With product placement at utterly shameless levels, even in the China-set segment, the whole enterprise simply reeks of cynicism, none of which would bother me too much if Bay and his screenwriters had bothered to have a bit of fun with what they're serving up.
There is one movie in-joke which works but will fly over most of the target audience's head and at least Stanley Tucci looks like he's having a bit of a laugh as an apparently evil industrialist who turns out to be not actually evil at all.
However, the sheer relentlessness of Age of Extinction, which weighs in at a bum-numbing 160-odd minutes, and is unconscionably loud to boot just wears the viewer down.
Apparently Wahlberg and Reynor have signed on for another two of these, but really, the human cast are as disposable as their dialogue and surely there's every possibility that at some point in the future Bay will simply ditch them and get some highly-developed robots to make the movies instead. It already feels like he has.