'Transformers: Age of Extinction': Director Michael Bay is better at bots than people

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

'Transformers: Age of Extinction' stars Mark Wahlberg as a Texas inventor who meets Autobot leader Optimus Prime.

Industrial Light & Magic/Paramount Pictures/AP
'Transformers: Age of Extinction' stars Mark Wahlberg.

The fourth “Transformers” movie is offically titled “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” but don’t believe it. As long as this franchise continues to pump out cash, there will be no extinction on the horizon.

Reviewing a Transformers movie is a bit like reviewing a toy. In fact, it’s exactly like reviewing a toy. I thought this 3-D Hasbro-Paramount production was better than the other three, but maybe that’s because I’ve been pounded into submission. Who can really differentiate between these films anyway? In the end, they all devolve (evolve?) into clashing, clanging bots.

Mark Wahlberg plays Cade Yeager, a down-on-his-luck Texas inventor who buys an old pickup truck only to discover it’s actually Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots. Optimus, having saved the world, is nevertheless perceived by Washington’s power elite as a threat. Black Ops, Decepticon bounty hunters, government meanies – they’re all here, trying to take down the Good Guys, who include not only Optimus and Co., but also Cade and his daughter (Nicola Peltz), her race-car driver boyfriend (Jack Reynor), and, after a change of heart, a billionaire munitions inventor, played by Stanley Tucci with a gust of good humor that’s like a sweet tinkle amid this film’s vast clangor. 

Director Michael Bay is otherwise better at directing bots than people. In fact, has anybody checked lately to see if he is not himself a Transformer? Grade: C+ (Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo.)

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