Following the Decepticon invasion and the subsequent destruction of Chicago, America has declared war on all Transformers, friend and foe. Sanctioned by presidential order, a special ops initiative tracks, captures, and eradicates all aliens. Since Chicago, the public has learned to fear and dread Transformers, even the Autobots. When Cade Yeager, a struggling inventor, discovers the fractured remains of Optimus Prime, he and his daughter (Tessa) find themselves dragged into a war which could ultimately lead to the destruction of human kind.
If you enjoyed the first three editions of the Transformers franchise, then you'll probably enjoy "Transformers: Age of Extinction." Directed by the master of the narrative explosion, Michael Bay presents a film which is comprised of at least 40 minutes of explosions, endless car chases, and only a few gratuitous shots of a seventeen year old character in daisy-dukes. Wedged in here and there, Mark Wahlberg (Cade Yeager), Nicola Peltz (Tessa Yeager), Jack Reynor (Shane), Kelsey Grammer (Harald Attinger), and Stanley Tucci (Joshua Joyce), have the opportunity to offer up random lines, stating the obvious in panicked or angry ways. Frankly, the film is an effects extravaganza, catering to action and pretty visuals. The basic plot is fine, but the execution is laughable. While the story takes time to introduce its human faces, very little of what is shown presents them in a sympathetic light. Early on, one of the more entertaining and annoying characters is turned into a metal statue. The moment came and went without a single tear from the characters, nor from the audience.
Even if one were to focus on the visual and special effects, there is a noticeable drop in quality. While they are technically impressive, relative to the previous edition, some of the effects were just too cartoony. Specifically the transformations of the enemy Transformers look cool, but take one out of the moment. The new transformation is almost as bad as not showing the more mechanical transformation. Honestly, going the liquid metal route might have been a bit more effective and easier to light. Beyond this, the CG characters worked well, even when we are suddenly presented with droves of generic bots and several iconic characters, who appear with about two lines of backstory, immediately followed by a fight for leadership, which is underscored by another fight to save the day. Unfortunately, while this film and its predecessors could have been great, it just isn't. The effects are worth a look, but beyond that, it might be best to wait for it to show up on basic cable.