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"Transformers: Age of Extinction" Review

So, yeah, a new Transformers movie. Yep. That this is. Uh-huh. Over 2-1/2 hours of cutting edge visual effects and BAYSPLOSIONS!!! If you've seen/enjoyed/endured/hated the other three, it's more of the same with some differences which don't really matter unless you were the person who was seeing these for Shia LeBeouf because he's gone (along with all the other humans and most of the Transformers), replaced by Marky Mark and some new Autobots.

It's five years after the events of Transformers: Dark of the Moon and the ravaging of Chicago. Despite the Autobots cooperation in thwarting Megatron and Sentinel Prime's scheme, they are now in hiding, being hunted mercilessly by a CIA squad commanded by Kelsey Grammar. He thinks the Transformers, whether good Autobot or evil Decepticon, need to be vanquished from Earth. But he's not so anti-Transformer as to not be in league with a new Big Bad, Lockdown, who is a bounty hunter seeking Optimus to add to his collection. Apparently there are masters he's serving which I'm sure we'll learn more about in the inevitable sequel.

Marky Mark is a widower with a hot teenage daughter (natch). He's an inventor who hasn't gotten anything working well enough to fend off the foreclosures and shutoff notices, but he has a hunch about a rusty old truck he finds in a movie theater he's junk-picking. He suspects it's a Transformer and he's proved right as he's able to jumpstart it to life, learning he was nearly killed in an ambush by Frasier's death squad and he's been incognito. Of course, Frasier's forces show up at the farm and threaten Mark's family forcing Optimus to reveal himself, explosions, chase, reveal of hot daughter's secret boyfriend, chase, boom boom, silly stuff, BAYHEM!!! BAYSPLOSIONS!!!! and something about something.

Frankly, as I'm writing this less than 24 hours after seeing it, I can't really recall much of anything about Transformers 2014 because it's all inconsequential, silly, dumb and just there to connect the eye-popping visual effects sequences. But that doesn't make it a bad movie as much as another Transformers movie. After the third one, I didn't really need another one and I'm still good. While it's all perfectly well-made and elaborately executed on a technical front, it's just too much meaningless noise - truly sound and fury signifying nothing.

But it's still hella better than Pacific Rim - yes, I still have a raging hate on for that thing and the morons who blindly defend it - which isn't a compliment to Transformers as it is a knock on Pacific Rim's inept, vacuous and intelligence-insulting insipid drivel. Transformers: Age of Extinction doesn't have any characters to sympathize with beyond the basic "I hope the good guys don't die" level; the secret boyfriend's trait is that he's Irish and Marky calls him "Lucky Charms" repeatedly; the lack of good guy military personnel (like Oscar-snubbed Tyrese - yes, sarcasm) leaves a void that makes things even more downbeat and joyless as Optimus wants to wash his wheels of this stinkin' planet of ingrates.

Parts were shot in Detroit so it's fun to spot the Russell Industrial Center suddenly pop up in the middle of a chase. (Shooting last August caused some hassle for my radio show that week as the parking lot was closed for the film's use.) An area near Grand Circus Park was turned into a Hong Kong location which explains why the People Mover kept showing up and the top of the Ren Cen peeks over the tops of buildings where they didn't bother with sky replacement.

Score: 6/10. Catch it at a dollar show if they have a good sound system.


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