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Originally published June 26, 2014 at 8:30 AM | Page modified June 26, 2014 at 1:58 PM

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‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’: Special effects run wild

A movie review of “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” the latest in the series about shape-shifting robots. Mark Wahlberg takes over the lead role. It received two stars on a scale of four.

Special to The Seattle Times

Movie Review ★★  

‘Transformers: Age of Extinction,’ with Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer. Directed by Michael Bay, from a screenplay by Ehren Kruger. 165 minutes. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo. Several theaters.


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.”

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! Mine eyes have seen the horror of huge, bellowing, shape-shifting robots going all mixed-martial arts 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 orangy gouts of IMAX flames, raining 3D fragments on panicked thousands. Oh, 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 Mr. Mark, 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 teen daughter (Nicola Peltz) over whom he gets embarrassingly overprotective when it comes to the boyfriend (Jack Reynor) issue. Saddled with lines like “this is a no-dating household,” 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, but it felt like eternity — and left no doubt whatsoever that there will surely be a sequel.


Soren Andersen:

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