Michael Bay’s full-body beatdown

Explosions! Fighting robots! Bad dialogue! Viewers get assaulted from many angles in director’s fourth installment of ‘Transformers’

Staff writerJune 27, 2014 

Hello, police? I’d like to report an assault.

Where? Down at the MegaGigaGrandePlex, and it’s still going on. Come quick! I barely escaped with my life.

The perp? Michael Bay. He gave me a full-body beatdown.

His weapon? “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

It was just horrible. If my ears had knees, they’d be down on them, begging for mercy. My poor eardrums were pounded to mush by nonstop hammering music and the wall-shaking sounds of endless explosions. Worse yet, they were terribly tortured by lines of dialogue like, “Dad! There’s a missile in the family room!” And “Sweetie, get my alien gun!”

And then there was this: “This is not war. ... It’s human extinction!”

Whimper. Oh, please. I don’t wanna go extinct.

And my eyes! My eyes! Mine eyes have seen the horror of huge, bellowing, shape-shifting robots going all MMA on one another, ripping out gears and gaskets and grease-stained guts. Further horrors there were: Of robotic hellhounds chasing shrieking humans all over creation. Of gigantic metal dinosaurs and fire-breathing dragons clomping and crashing, of spaceships spewing destruction, of cities blowing up in great orangey gouts of IMAX flames and raining 3-D fragments on panicked thousands. Oh, the humanity! The humanity!

But, truth to tell, there was precious little humanity to be found in the midst of this mauling. Mark Wahlberg in the lead role is definitely an upgrade from the whiny Shia LaBeouf, whom Bay jettisoned after the kid led the cast in three previous “Transformers.” But Wahlberg, like LaBeouf before him, is left with little to do but gape at the destructive antics of the CGI creatures surrounding him and to run (and run) for his life from the fallout.

He’s been given a leggy blond beauty of a teenage daughter played by Nicola Peltz over whom he gets embarrassingly overprotective when it comes to the boyfriend issue. Saddled with lines like “this is a no-dating household,” and scorning her hunky Irish-accented boyfriend played by Jack Reynor with the nickname “Lucky Charms” — Witty! — Wahlberg is reduced, like every other human in the cast, from Stanley Tucci to Kelsey Grammer, to the role of supporting spear carrier. All are overshadowed by the pile-driving onslaught of the admittedly stunning special effects.

And that onslaught never let up. “Extinction” went on for close to three hours by my somehow miraculously still-running watch, but it felt like eternity. I had to sit there and take it (and take it), so on top of everything else, I’m suffering from a bad case of butt-hurt.

That man Bay is a fiend, I tell you. A fiend without pity.

He and his minions, an unnumbered army of keystroking CGI techs, piled car chase on robo-bout on city-smashing episode until I was left feeling groggy and soggy in the head. Was that Chicago getting KO’d? Or was it Hong Kong? After a while, I couldn’t tell the difference. It all blended together on a continuous infernal loop. There was no letup, no downtime, no mercy.

And no doubt whatsoever, when all was said and done, that there will surely be a sequel.


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