Michael Bay and his backers have spared no expense with the latest “Transformers” movie, but he can’t help but fall afoul of genre conventions and his usual over-reliance on computer-generated special effects. “Transformers: Age Of Extinction” picks up four years after the big guys left Michigan Avenue and Streeterville in ruins. To keep this from happening again, the feds are now hunting all remaining transformers, good and bad alike. An injured Optimus Prime comes into the possession of financially struggling widower-inventor Cade Yeager, played by Mark Wahlberg. Cade repairs Prime, the government finds out, explosions ensue. We spend the rest of the movie’s punishing 165-minute running time tracking Wahlberg as he tries to keep his daughter (relative newcomer Nicola Peltz) safe from the elite CIA unit that’s hunting them down. Cue robots, car chases, space ships, massive explosions and over-elaborate action sequences. Characters appear, disappear and inexplicably reappear with no explanation. In this mess, Mark Wahlberg does an admirable job as the ripped widower who adjusts well to being pulled into an alien war. Unfortunately, the Decepticons often act with more emotion and conviction than the rest of the supporting cast, save for genuinely funny turns by T.J Miller and always-dependable Stanley Tucci. 165m. Widescreen. (Michael Joyce)
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” is now playing all across this planet.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.