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Transformers: Age of Extinction (3D)

6/10

Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Sophia Myles, Li Bingbing, Titus Welliver, T.J. Miller.

Voices: Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, Robert Foxworth, John DiMaggio, Mark Ryan, Reno Wilson.

Director: Michael Bay

Director Michael Bay returns to his proven profitable ‘Transformers’ franchise with yet another (and patently filmgoer-friendly) outburst of minimal IQ, maximum visual excess that once more demonstrates his working concept of subtlety would be to have someone kick someone else in the groin wearing bedroom slippers rather than iron boots.

Which, given this latest outburst of product placement (Transformers are toys marketed by Hasbro) is exactly what the multiplex ordered, another critic-proof box-office winner.

So if you’re looking for art, or intellectual refinement of any kind, this noisy special-effects-driven blockbuster definitely isn’t for you. (The first word of dialogue I heard was ‘Shit!” I was definitely tempted to use this as a concise review but resisted the urge).

Ehren Kruger did come up with a plot of sorts to serve as a spine for the Oscar-worthy special effects that are the most impressive aspect of the film, as cars are transformed into giant metal robots, prehistoric creatures made of metal and, most confusingly for a non-believer, a metallic flying dragon with two heads, something rather odd for a movie that essentially needs not much brain, let alone two, to make its noisy adrenaline-surging point.

Fine 3D cinemtaography (Amir Mokri) is a vivid asset,

And the story?

The carnage kicks off after a city is almost destroyed by an epic battle against space-soaring Transformers. And it’s left to humans, led by Mark Wahlberg, who keeps an impressive straight face throughout, and helped by human-friendly Transformer Optimus Prime (“This is not war, it’s human extinction!”) whom he brings back to towering life and, with Autobots as his allies, saves Mankind for yet another sequel.

To be fair to Bay, so much happens (visually, not intellectually) during the 166-minute long orgy of action, special effects, crazy car chases and fast and fatuous dialogue that ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ seemed like several sequels in itself.

As to its impact, it’s vigorous and visceral. Humanity (apart from mankind battling metal monsters) resides in Wahlberg’s efforts to keep his leggy teenage daughter Nicola Peltz from the understandable lust of her boyfriend Jack Reynor.

Wahlberg is suitably heroic, Stanley Tucci supplies a modicum of amusement as a possibly evil industrialist, and Kelsey Grammer is on hand to add some modicum of acting but, let’s face it, carnage, mayhem, noise and visual magnificence, not acting, is what this is all about.

Beijing and Hong Kong have significant roles and box-office success is certain.

One line hits the target, dead centre. “Sequels and remakes. Bunch of crap” moans a grumpy granddad in the ruins of a long-deserted and run-down cinema.

(And, for the record, a single use of the 'F' word is likely to delight the essentially juvenile target audience).

(Rating below is for action, not IQ)

Alan Frank

USA/China 2014. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour.
166 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 14 Jul 2014