When you walk into a Michael Bay film, you know what you’re getting yourself into. An exercise in excess in every way you can possibly think of. He is intent on giving audiences more explosions, more energy, more action, more EVERYTHING than he gave you in the last movie he made.
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” is a perfect example of Bay’s obsession with this philosophy. The battle of Chicago has left all alien robots the target of the U.S. military. A CIA agent named Harold Atinger (Kelsey Grammer) leads a task force in hunting down every last Autobot and Decepticon and exterminating them. He is secretly aided in the search and destroy mission by the Decepticon Lockdown. An inventor (Mark Wahlberg) and his family become a target of the group when it’s discovered he restored Optimus Prime to working condition. Prime must track down the other Autobots and find a way to stop the destruction of the remaining Transformers. That’s the first plot.
The second plot involves a business tycoon (Stanley Tucci) who wants to make his own Transformers out of an element his scientists discovered. He creates these new shape-shifting robots through the use of “Transformium” mined from the head of Megatron. Why do all of his creations seem to have an evil streak to them? As if Optimus Prime doesn’t have enough to deal with already, he must lead his companions to China and stop the Decepticons from obliterating the country.
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” is 2 hours and 45 minutes long. Let me stress that again in a different way: it’s 165 minutes long. That’s only 18 minutes shorter than Bay’s patriotic epic “Pearl Harbor.” Imagine non-stop action, robot-on-robot carnage, and mass destruction filling almost every second of that 165 minutes and you have an idea of what to expect walking into the theater.
Writer Ehren Kruger fills the 2 hours and 45 minutes with two different intertwined storylines. Although they tie together, “Transformers: Age of Extinction” easily could’ve (and should’ve) been two separate movies. An hour and a half into the movie, you can literally feel the movie’s plotline shift from one concept to another.
Although they’re likable, Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, and Nicola Peltz don’t have the same charisma Shia LeBeouf, his family, and John Turturro had in the original “Transformers” trilogy. There was a playful humor to their characters that is missing from the new bunch. That’s not to say you don’t feel a genuine connection with Wahlberg’s character, especially if you’re the father of a teenager.
One thing I do have a problem with when it comes to the “Transformers” movies is their inclusion of so much bad language. Is it really necessary to the action and storyline? Millions of kids are going to see these films and I don’t see why it’s so important to have the heroes of the movie blurting out cuss words the entire time.
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” is another perfect example of Michael Bay’s drive to squeeze as much bang for the buck into a movie as he possibly can. When you walk away from his dinner table, you’re not just satisfied. You’re stuffed to the gills with every appetizer, main dish, and desert he can get down your throat.
You can’t say you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. The posters for “Transformers: Age of Extinction” are easy to read. They clearly say “Directed by Michael Bay.” I can’t think of anyone who could bring the Robots in Disguise to life better than him. It’s more of the same, but who turns down extra helpings of something they love.