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Transformers: Age of Extinction: I Walked Out

Transformers: Age of Extinction


Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland

Transformers: Age of Extinction
Image from Paramount Pictures

Markus Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo

Now playing at Century 20 Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California:

Even though I gave “Transformers: Age of Extinction” a one star rating, I didn’t hate it in the traditional sense. I must also say that from a technical/visual standpoint, it’s hard to claim that director Michael Bay doesn’t know what he’s doing. And to say Bay doesn’t know his audience would also be a misnomer. When every sequence contains either a teenage girl in short shorts or an explosion, I would say he knows exactly what his demo (the average American male) wants and/or will, at the end of the day, pay to see. That said, even 100 million dollar visuals in the wrong hands, can manifest into something mind-numbingly repetitive, senseless and desensitizing. So much so, that I literally walked out of the movie three-quarters of the way through. And the rule I tend to adhere to is: If I walk out on a movie, even if it wasn’t savagely insulting to my intelligence or exploitative or a Happy Madison production, I feel that giving a one star rating to said movie is completely justified.

Synopsis: If anyone cares, “Transformers: Age of Extinction” follows a mechanic/wannabe engineer (played by Mark Wahlberg) and his family, as they attempt to help save Optimus Prime and friends (one of them being a pretty racially insensitive stereotype in the guise of a Japanese Transformer) from extermination at the hands of the US government.
The premise isn’t awful. It’s the cringe inducing dialogue, lack of plot focus and annoying characters (basically the overall script) which kills it. Allow me to rephrase that. All of these aspects horribly cripple the premise, but it’s Bay’s relentless pot and pan clanking assault on the senses style of direction that finishes off the job. And when Mark Wahlberg begins to act, things just go from bad to worse. It’s not like Wahlberg is a bad actor, but Bay seems to accentuate every one of his acting flaws, until Mark’s character is reduced to a whiny bag of meat and his performance into one that will have audiences begging for the return of Shia LaBeouf.

Side Note: I don’t want to hear any Age of Extinction apologists who dismiss what I have to say based on some supposition that it was the subject matter (the Transformers themselves) which I had a problem with, and therefore must have gone into this installment fingers crossed for failure. As I was actually one of the few critics who enjoyed the previous Transformers film, I can assure you that your assumption would be wrong. But if you’re defending this movie, I can probably make an assumption that you’re wrong about a lot of things in life.

Final Thought: I want to make it clear why I walked out of this movie. After about 2 hours of politely watching and re-watching the same slow motion sequence of Mark Wahlberg crashing through a plate glass window as things explode around him, I knew I’d seen all Michael Bay and “Transformers: Age of Extinction” had to offer. And yeah, I got bored. So again, while visually speaking this film wasn’t awful, sometimes a boring movie is far worse than a bad one.

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