Main cast: Mark Wahlberg (Cade Yeager), Stanley Tucci (Joshua Joyce), Nicola Peltz (Tessa Yeager), Jack Reynor (Shane Dawson), and Kelsey Grammer (Harold Attinger)
Director: Michael Bay
You know, I have no idea what was going on in Ehren Kruger’s mind while writing the script of this movie, but I think that person hates every single thing about the movie. That would probably explain why Transformers: Age of Extinction is such a horrifyingly awful movie carried by main characters who are obnoxious in every way.
Set five years after the robots blew up Chicago, this movie opens with the premise that the US government has decided that all “aliens” – the robots, both Autobots and Decepticons – had created enough damage to the people and the land, and they wanted all of these aliens out. The CIA started “Cemetery Wind”, an elite robot-hunting squad led by Harold Attinger, to hunt down all aliens that still lurk around. It turns out that Harold is actually doing this for not entirely altruistic reasons. He has a partnership with Joshua Joyce – the two of them turned Joshua’s cybernetics company into a plant dedicated to manufacturing their own Transformers using technology and knowledge gleaned from salvaged parts of the captured Transformers. Harold also has a partnership with Lockdown, a bounty hunter who is apparently charged by some mysterious entities to hunt down and destroy these Transformers all over the galaxy. Apparently the entities created the Transformers, and now they want the robots destroyed due to some reason that is never fully explained.
Into the scene comes our hero, Cade Yeager, who unknowingly purchases what seems like an old truck only to discover that it is the gravely wounded Optimus Prime in disguise. Naturally, Lockdown and Harold are not amused. Soon, Cade, his daughter Tessa, and Tessa’s boyfriend Shane are on the run, to help Optimus take down the bad guys and what not.
This movie is a little over 3 hours long – yes, 3 hours! – but only about a quarter of that screen time is devoted to the robots that this movie is supposed to be about. Yes, much of this movie is about the useless and pathetic humans trying not to ruin things too much when they are not moaning and whining about their personal issues. I don’t know why this movie has Transformers in the title and still spend so much time on its barely developed and unlikable human characters!
Cade is an awful main character. He spends his time neglecting his responsibilities in favor of creating junk that don’t work properly. This man claims to be an inventor, buying junk to work on even as the rent is unpaid and his daughter doesn’t have the funds to go to college. Worse, he gets violent when the people he owes money to try to claim it from him. He is pretty incompetent in other ways too. Just for start, he infiltrates Kinetics Solutions and gets caught, and he rushes to save Optimus Prime only to need rescuing and causes Optimus Prime to get speared in the chest. Cade is also an awful father. Apart from pointing out at regular intervals how short Tess’s shorts are – for the sake of the audience who may miss out on the fact that Tessa wears very short shorts in this movie and she’s supposed to be 17 – he is a failure as a father. And yet, as the movie progresses, he is suddenly depicted as a great father, mostly because he yells a lot when his daughter is in distress, even if at one point he won’t reveal Optimus Prime’s location to the bad guys who are clearly going to shoot Tess. Bots before hos, I guess. Cade is unnaturally fixated on Tess’s exposed legs and the need to “protect” her for the rest of her life, even if, in reality, he didn’t do much protecting until the robots came into the picture. Unless I count him wanting her to never date so that he can always have her to himself, that is. Creepy.
Tess has two roles in this story: parade around in short shorts and scream as she continuously gets into trouble and needs rescuing. Actually, three roles – getting molested by robot tentacles is another one, and did I mention that she’s 17? This movie really wants to keep its audience happy, I’d give it that. Her boyfriend exists only to drive cars and gets Cade to display more of his disturbing “My daughter is mine – MINE! FOREVER!” complex. The rest of the human cast is one-note and pointless, except for Joshua, who is noteworthy for the wrong reasons. The movie, for some reason that may only be explained by drugs, decides to turn Joshua into a comic heroic character late in the movie when he has been abetting Harold in destroying Autobots all this while. Yes, that works as well as you can imagine.
Speaking of the cast, Optimus Prime’s pathetic and masochistic tendency to be the doormat for all humans sinks to new lows in this movie. He loses most of the surviving Autobots in this movie, and he starts out determined to leave humans to their own nonsense. But it’s all bluster on his part. It takes only one sentence from Joshua to make him go “Oh, humans don’t love me anymore!” and spare the villains, at the same time letting these villains attack him and his people while their backs are turned. Following Optimus Prime is as good as joining a queue for a suicide bomber recruitment agency – they all end up dying in the end without really making the world a better place. At least suicide bombers die believing in a cause that allegedly makes the world a better place for their people. Autobots here die under Optimus Prime’s “leadership” for humans that, yet again, treat the Autobots like things to be bent over and sodomized with a hot burning poker. It is really hilarious when Cade, the biggest failure as a human being in every way, lectures Optimus Prime on how the Autobots should keep protecting humans because humans are special and amazing, and Optimus agrees. What the hell? It is horrible to see how the movie franchise turns the Autobots into bigger wusses and flatter doormats to be continuously used, abused, and taken for granted by humans.
I don’t have the space and time to list down all the logic holes in this movie, but my favorite is the development at the end. After making me endure almost 30 minutes of long and tedious chases, explosions, and fights to move a bomb thing out of Beijing, Optimus Prime suddenly flies off into space to hide the bomb for good. Why he doesn’t do that the moment they have the bomb, I will never know. The script writer must be high when he was writing this crap. Don’t even get me started on how these “good guys” practically destroy who knows many lives and leave at least two cities in utter ruins in the end, only to hug in front of the sunset and talk about how happy they are going to be now that everything is alright, oblivious to the lives that have been ruined by their “heroic” stunt.
Transformers: Age of Extinction is really awful even for a movie directed by Michael Bay. The story is complete crap, the acting is one-note and dull (Mark Wahlberg’s biceps are pretty too look at, though, I’d give him that), and the incessant chases and explosions are mind-numbingly dull. The one-liners end up flat and inappropriately timed, and worst of all, the Autobots end up utter wimps and doormats who keep letting humans treat them like crap because they clearly have no dignity or self respect. It almost makes me miss that annoying pothead Shia LaBeouf.