Film review: The fourth Transformer movie fails to dazzle

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Transformers: Age of Extinction is a battle of good versus evil in which robots try to extinguish the human race. Image: Paramount Pictures Transformers: Age of Extinction is a battle of good versus evil in which robots try to extinguish the human race. Image: Paramount Pictures

There are so many bad movies out there that it’s not reasonable to suggest Transformers: Age of Extinction is the worst movie ever made. It’s entirely reasonable, however, to suggest it’s the dumbest movie ever made. It’s also criminally dull, but designed to feel exciting.
Here are five examples that make the latest Transformers flick a major piece of (dumb) shit:
1. Mark Wahlberg is Cade Yeager, an inventor (!!) and scientist (!!!) born and raised in Texas but who speaks with a conspicuous Boston accent.
2. The only viable comic relief in the movie, comedian T.J. Miller as Cade’s business partner, Lucas Flannery, is killed in roughly the first 30 minutes. Then we’re saddled with John Goodman as a wise-cracking fat Autobot.
3. Optimus Prime figures out a way to a kill a more or less unkillable Transformer 45 minutes later than he could have.
4. Nicola Peltz, as Cade’s daughter Tessa, exists solely so that stereotypes based in sexism and misogyny can linger on, creepily, well into 2014.
5. Every person of Asian descent in this installment who has more than 30 seconds of screen time is a martial arts expert.
(Bonus) 6. Each Transformer is impossible to kill…until he’s not.
(Anti-bonus) 7. This movie, which has no plot and no reason to exist other than to make money (not a bad thing when a film is mildly diverting), goes on and on and on and on for 165 minutes. That’s two hours and 45 minutes, which is only six minutes shorter than The Godfather, a movie with infinitely more nuance and better action sequences than anything that happens in Transformers: Does This Mean the Franchise is Extinct?
Getting away from the grievances and onto the summary…oh, fuck it. Why bother?
If you’ve seen the trailer, you know what happens: He-man Mark Wahlberg accidentally finds Optimus Prime and then shit starts blowing up. When I write that there’s no plot, I don’t mean literally there’s no plot, but I do mean nothing that makes any sense, even on the movie’s own terms, happens in its gargantuan running time. Jesus, they don’t even get to the Dinobots until the last half-hour.
For all its tiny-dick gun-toting bullshit, there are a few things Transformers: Pay No Attention to the Movie’s Failure to Understand Basic Physics gets right: Stanley Tucci is brought in for much needed gravitas in the is-he-or-isn’t-he-a-villain department. Kelsey Grammer gives an appropriately slimy performance as a CIA suit with the charisma of Donald Rumsfeld, the soullessness of Dick Cheney, and the warmongering bloodlust of both.
Finally, in all this bloat, there are two good action sequences. One takes place as Mark Wahlberg and a CIA killer (Titus Welliver) jump down an apartment building’s exterior in China, and another takes place when a bad Transformer uses a magnet as a weapon. That they both happen well after the two-hour mark, however, is another sign of what makes this movie so dumb. And how is it that no human caught in mid-air by a Transformer is subject to Newton’s Third Law?
Whatever. There are two more Transformers films in the works, so the idiocy is inescapable. Good luck, planet Earth. If the Decepticons don’t get you, the franchise will.

Transformers:Age of Extinction PG-13, 165 minutes
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