Cinematic super-villain Michael Bay once again wipes his ass with my childhood (and $600M and counting from moviegoers worldwide) with Transformers: Age of Extinction. Wait, that's not fair. I can't blame the damn near three-hour celluloid lobotomy I endured on Mr. Bay. As the saying goes: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, a third time, a fourth...I guess I just don't learn.
The first Transformers was a by-the-books summer action flick that was enjoyable simply to see the robots’ transformations translated from animation to live action; the story wasn't A Beautiful Mind, but my inner eight-year old gave it a thumbs up. The subsequent sequels, however, were sufferings of the mind – bludgeoning abortions of imagination littered with racist robot caricatures, flagrant misogyny, and, in the second film, award-winning actor John Turturro standing beneath a gigantic swinging set of cybernetic testicles.
Why did I think the fourth outing would be different...and WHY did I see it?
This malignant moron-athon kicks off several years following Dark of the Moon. The Autobots are in hiding, now hunted by humans. You see, humans have developed weapons capable of destroying Transformers – and can now even create their own “Robots In Disguise” – thanks to the discovery of a new element: Transformium. That's right, I couldn't possibly make something that obvious up. Anyway, the plot – I use this in the loosest sense of the word – goes something like them all: the Autobots team up with humans (lead by Mark Walhberg, tagging in for Shia LaBeouf) to prevent the Decepticons from destroying the world, leveling an entire city in the process (Hong Kong pulls the shortest straw this time).
All the Bay trademarks we know and loath are here. Stereotypes: Check (why wouldn't the Asian agent know kung fu?). Sexism? You got it! There is a running gag about Cade Yeager's (Mark Walhberg) underage daughter (Nicola Peltz) – who is always dressed like she's posing for a Maxim spread – having relations with her adult boyfriend (Jack Reynor). I have no doubt Bay finds this hilarious. The audience I was part of – seemingly unamused by statutory rape humor – didn't laugh at all; in fact, they seemed pretty uncomfortable by the entire concept.
My biggest gripe with this putrid pile of Bay is that the Dinobots (guess what they transform into) debuting from the '80s cartoon were rebranded "Legendary Knights." First off, zero effort went in to this new name. More notably, the alleged reason the writers chose to do this is because they thought the name Dinobots was too literal and juvenile. Yeah, and they consulted the scientific consortium at the Smithsonian to come up with Transformium.
On second thought, f%^& Michael Bay, and f%^& Age of Extinction.