Transformers: Age of Extinction is the fourth instalment in the Transformers franchise. Michael Bay once again sits in the directors chair, but this time we see a whole new cast of characters as Age of Extinction is set several years after the last film, 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
A totally new storyline involves mechanic and small-time robot enthusiast from Texas Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), and his teenage daughter Tessa (Nicola Petlz) who unwittingly stumble upon an old dusty Transformer they thought was a fixer-upper. Desperately in need of cash, they contemplate selling it to the government which is offering steep rewards for any of the robots. But a bitter CIA agent (Kelsey Grammar) has cut a deal with the Decepticons and corrupt super-high-tech defence firm KSI, which naturally ensnares the Yeager’s (and Tessa’s boyfriend Shane played by Jack Reynor) into a web of international sci-fi intrigue. The totally new storyline and completely different cast and characters give the film a much needed overhaul, and the result is a much more interesting and entertaining movie. One of my favourites was the sub-plot aboard the Decepticon spaceship tethered to the John Hancock tower in Chicago where Cade and Shane are trying to rescue Tessa and Optimus Prime, with the help of some new Autobots like Hound (John Goodman) and Drift (Ken Watanabe). The climax of the film is set in Hong Kong, where Optimus enlists the help of the Dinobots (some of the coolest transformers) and is typical for the series and features lots of large objects being destroyed, like buildings, stadiums, and super tankers as well as lots of cars being thrown around.
As expected, the film is action-packed and stuffed with spectacular visual effects and Michael Bay has apparently listened to some of the criticism and made improvements to his editing. Where prior films were edited in seizure-inducing micro clips where you could barely discern what action was taking place before the shot was cut away, he is more patient this time around. He uses slow-motion for several of the more complex scenes that involve multiple actors caught up in fight scenes with transformers that allows you to see very clearly how each actor was able to escape the situation alive. In regular time it would be nearly impossible to focus on anything and appreciate what was happening.
Overall, Age of Extinction is the best Transformers film yet. With a re-vamped storyline including totally new characters, as well as some very good casting choices, it feels less like a sequel and more like a new film entirely which is something the franchise desperately needed. Action-packed and with an improved sense of humour, it looks like for director Michael Bay the fourth time is a charm.
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::: Renowned For Sound Technical Director and Film Reviewer ::: Robert is an IT geek, movie fan and part-time movie reviewer/editor. Robert also looks after the ‘behind the scenes’ technical elements of Renowned For Sound.