Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
Directed by Michael Bay
Written by Ehren Kruger
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Titus Welliver
In the time since the Transformer’s battle with Megatron in Chicago, the United States has gone on the defensive. Now a special task force has secretly been destroying the Autobots and Decepticons without mercy. The group is led by a ruthless politician (Grammer) and a cold-blooded soldier (Welliver). Together these men are working to rid the planet of the Transformers. When Cade Yeager (Wahlberg), a struggling repairman, finds an abandoned truck, he unknowingly becomes part of the war. After reviving the truck, Cade finds himself face to face with Optimus Prime. This discovery forces Yeager to run for his life as the military closes in. Alongside his daughter (Peltz) and her boyfriend (Reynor), Cade teams up with a small band of Autobots hoping to save the world.
The latest installment in the Transformers film series comes three years after Transformers: Dark of the Moon. This time Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor) was behind the camera, directing his fourth Transformers film. The story was written by Ehren Kruger (The Ring), the same screenwriter who penned the previous two films in the series. This time the film made major changes in the choice of the cast. Moving forward with the series, this movie features a whole new set of faces. The stars include Mark Wahlberg (Lone Survivor), Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada), and Kelsey Grammer (X-Men: The Last Stand). The film also features Nicola Peltz (Affluenza), Jack Reynor (Cold), and Titus Welliver (Argo).
Like most of the action based science-fiction movies coming out, this story is merely a platform for the action and the visuals. Thankfully, the premise works with the previous three films without creating much confusion. Another of strengths of the story is the cruelty of the villains. The conflict in the film is spelled out early and clearly, leaving room for the plot to take off. While this makes much of the arc predictable, the story has enough to offer to be entertaining.
Unfortunately, this story had a few more weaknesses as well. There are plot lines that ultimately fail to be resolved, or seem to have little to do with the bigger arc in the film. The dialogue written for the film is generally predictable and cheesy, but nothing that seems unexpected. Overall, this story is exactly what viewers should expect when it comes to any sequel from an action film these days, it’s all bite and no bark.
The acting in this one is good, but also limited by the material. Wahlberg was a good choice to lead the new direction for this franchise. His performance has some good moments, and he works well alongside the rest of the cast. One of the highlights of the movie is the nice work from Stanley Tucci, who gives this movie a nice change in texture. He plays a character that seems to contrast with the rest of the cast, especially throughout the second half of the film. This is a welcomed adjustment that’s fun to see. The rest of the cast also do a good job in this one. Welliver, Grammer, Peltz, and Reynor all do nice work. Overall, the cast did as much as could be expected with the material they were given.
Another nice aspect of the movie was the voice-acting used for the Tranformers. The voices used include John Goodman (Inside Llewyn Davis), Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins), Peter Cullen (Voltron), and Frank Welker (Aladdin). Other voices were done by Robert Foxworth (Syriana), John DiMaggio (Wreck-It Ralph), Mark Ryan (The Prestige), and Reno Wilson (Crank). Although it’s all a bit cheesy, the voices used really added much-needed personality to the Transformers.
The visuals and the other technical aspects of this movie are nicely executed. The Transformers are all incredible to see throughout the film. The sound work and camera work were also nicely used to create some incredible action sequences. For most people, this area of production is why they came to see the movie. Thankfully, this aspect of the film won’t disappoint many.
Overall, this is a fun movie with lots of action and enough plot to keep things moving. If you’re expecting a great story you might be disappointed. In addition to being weakly written, the movie runs at 165 minutes long. The length of the film is painfully evident as the movie stretches into the last third. Despite the continual action, there isn’t enough story to justify the running time. Despite all of this, I can still recommend this to anyone who liked the previous films in the series. I would also suggest this for fans of big-budget action films. This film does have stronger language than the previous movies in the series, enough to keep smaller kids away. I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.