Michael Bay makes you wonder whether you have paid to watch cinema or a video game in a theme park. The director enjoys blowing things up and filling the screen with sound and fury that ultimately amount to nothing. With superior visual and aural technology, he delivers a package that outdoes the first three editions in terms of scale and computer generated savagery but when it comes to storytelling it remains as mechanical as Hasbro’s toys.
Here the camera caresses the derriere of a girl when she is talking to her father. It might give kick to drooling adolescents but lays bare the desperation of the makers, which includes Steven Spielberg. No wonder dinosaurs make a comeback in a landscape dotted with colossal robotic dolls as dinobots courtesy dollops of pop science as an excuse to reboot the battle between Autobots and Decepticons.
The twist is that American government is now hunting down the human-friendly Autobots as a self- seeking CIA official Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) has managed to tarnish them as fugitives. He has employed a bounty hunter transformer called Lockdown and is working in sync with Joyce (Stanley Tucci), a business magnate, whose company is working towards acquiring the genome of Transformers, so that it can create its own army of robots and America forgets autobots for ever.
Meanwhile in the Texan country side, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), a struggling robotics engineer is finding it difficult to fix the love life of his teenaged daughter Tessa ( Nicola Peltz) as well as an old truck that he has bought to tide over financial crisis. No prize for guessing that the truck turns out to be hibernating Optimus Prime, humanity’s best ‘bot’ against Decepticons. This spirals a series of action set pieces which oscillate between awesome and awful as Bay seems adamant to go for an overkill.
Wahlberg is brought in to add some sensitivity to the mangled screenplay and he does try to navigate through it valiantly. But how can he lend credibility to a world inhabited by the likes of Nicola, brought in to carry on the bimbo act of Megan Fox, and imbued with soapy situations where the father has to work with a boy he doesn’t find deserving for his daughter. Grammer hams it up. Only Tucci manages to sail through the sea of silliness as he transforms from a self- seeking tycoon to somebody who can laugh at his mistakes.
With an eye on the Asian market, the climax is shot in old Hong Kong and here the nifty action between real and surreal does lead to gaping mouths but ultimately 165 minutes become an eternity to let the machines do the talking.
Bottomline: By the end you do feel as if you are on the edge of extinction!
TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION
Genre: Sci-fi /action
Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor