I wish there was a way to force film director Michael Bay to give me back the nearly three hours of my life that were wasted while suffering through his latest overblown CGI obscenity that is "Transformers: Age Of Extinction".
However, as mobster Hyman Roth eloquently stated in "Godfather II", "… This is the business we have chosen".
As such, I take full responsibility for willingly walking into the theater, knowing all too well in my gut and mind, that what I was about to watch was going to leave me filled with annoyance and long lingering remorse.
Still, though MY time was wasted in watching Bay "blow stuff up real good" for a time period far, FAR longer than it needed to be… there's no point in wasting your time with more exposition than this travesty deserves as part of a review. That in mind, let me cut right to the chase.
"Transformers: Age Of Extinction" is nothing more than a repetitive, mind-numbing orgy of self-indulgent excess by director Michael Bay… filled with a 165-minute long cacophony of ear-splitting noise, on-screen chaos, horrible dialogue and meaningless mayhem.
Sure, that description pretty much sums up a lot of Bay's previous efforts. However, with this fourth installment in his admittedly successful franchise; I was surprised by the extent to which the director decides to double-down, even triple-down, on the lack of coherent content and plot-line, while at the same time ratcheting up the amount of on-screen destruction to a point that it all becomes a seemingly endless blur of grinding metal, explosions and crashing rubble.
Mark Wahlberg replaces Shia LeBeouf as the central human character amid this feature length commercial for 1980's Hasbro toys. Wahlberg plays Cade Yeager, a Texas robotics inventor with plenty of ambition offset by a mountain of debt, angry creditors and the trials of raising a nubile teenage daughter, Tessa; played by Nicola Peltz who serves as the film's requisite eye candy shout-out to Megan Fox with her thigh high, blue jean shorts.
Yeager is working hard to come up with the cash to pay the bills and send Tessa to college with a "big idea" invention that he hopes will be their miraculous cash cow. To achieve this goal, he scours an old theater looking for old parts to build his ambitious, but mostly malfunctioning, creations. In the process, he comes across a rusted, dirty and broken down tractor-trailer which he eventually discovers is the franchise's real leading man, Optimus Prime.
Meantime, this film takes place five years after the events of the previous franchise installment, "Transformers: Dark Of The Moon" where the devastating battle between the good "Autobots" and the bad "Decepticons" left huge chunks of Chicago in ruins. As a result, top CIA operative Harold Attinger ( Kelsey Grammar ) has decided all Transformers are dangerous to the human race and must be eradicated.
Attinger has made a deal with corporate robotics genius and CEO Joshua Joyce ( Stanley Tucci ) to capture, kill, grind-up and recycle all the Autobots to create a new improved generation of Transformers that will serve mankind for a tidy corporate profit.
Meanwhile, Attinger is also double dealing with yet another group of Transformers seeking to capture and punish Optimus Prime for apparently breaking some kind of honor code that the creator of the Transformers have in place.
No, not Hasbro toys; but something new thrown into this already convoluted mess of a storyline.
When Attinger sends a government black ops crew led by an intimidating James Savoy ( Titus Welliver ) to threaten Yeager into telling them where Optimus Prime is hiding; Yeager decides he has to choose sides. With Optimus Prime's help, Yeager, his daughter, and her older boyfriend Shane ( a totally unnecessary Jack Reynor ) literally hit the road with Optimus Prime to find the rest of his Autobot crew and figure out their next move before the CIA thugs, the recycled Transformers or the other bad robots catch up to them.
What happens next is pretty much irrelevant plot wise because, in the end, it's really all about the robots duking it out on-screen. Bay shifts the action sequences from Chicago ( again ) to Hong Kong with good robots going metallic mano a mano with all manner of bad robots. Meantime, Wahlberg and the rest of the human cast spend their time gazing in amazement at green screen CGI effects and spewing dialogue and scene set-ups cheesy enough to qualify as a Velveeta substitute.
The action sequences, which bottom line - are the only reason these movies make any money, are admittedly eye catching, and in some cases quite spectacular. However, the barrage of ear-shattering explosions, car crashes, metal being pounded and more becomes so unbearably incessant over nearly three hours, that the thrill and novelty is quickly gone, if it ever existed at all.
There is nothing, nothing in this overlong film's action sequences that hasn't had it's near equivalent in the three prior films. Robots banging on robots, metal on metal, tedious mayhem accompanied by a bombastic pretentious musical soundtrack; all of it leading to a point where your mind goes self-defensively blank against the sensory onslaught, while you pray for the moment when it all will just end.
The only thing that would've made "Transformers: Age Of Extinction" more insipidly "over the top" and ridiculous - would be for twice Oscar-nominated star Mark Wahlberg to don a pair of tighty-whitey Calvin Klein briefs as Marky Mark… and dance hip hop w/ Optimus Prime.
Well, there's always the inevitable sequel for that to still happen.
Tim Estiloz is an Emmy winning entertainment journalist and member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Boston Online Film Critics Association. Follow Tim on Twitter @TimEstiloz and at www.TimEstiloz.com. - Be sure to LIKE his page on Facebook at: Tim Estiloz Film Reviews.