Is there any excuse available that will justify spending 2 hours, 45 minutes to watch this film? Or why I am gifting it three stars? It was a free rental at Redox. I normally enjoy Mark Wahlberg movies. I love Bumblebee. Do any of these hold water? I know one thing that doesn’t hold a lot of water – the story. Does it really matter at this point in the franchise? There are good guy Transformers called Autobots and bad guy Transformers called Decepticons and standing between them are stupid humans that betray their species for profit – normally it’s the U.S. Government. BUT wait – there is one hero that will change all of this and talk Optimus Prime (Autobot Boss Daddy) into fighting one last battle (for the fourth or fifth time – I’ve lost count at this point) while some hot-looking woman runs around explosions in short-shorts. You now know all you need to know about the entire _Transformer_ franchise. For this incarnation we trade out Shia LeBeouf for Mark Wahlberg and Courtney Fox for Nicola Pelz. And now for the twist…wait for it… Mark Wahlberg plays Nicola Pelz’s FATHER. That’s right – the FATHER. Yeah, it totally doesn’t work. At all. There’s a point in the movie about 90 minutes in where it looks like all the loose ends are going to get tied up and I thought: You know, that wasn’t so bad. Good action flick, a bit hoaky at points but watchable. And then the movie keeps going. And going. For another 90 minutes. And you basically watch the movie again except instead of it being in Texas and Chicago, it’s in China and Hong Kong. It’s too long, too many explosions, too many American flags and Texas flags in the background. This movie desperately needs an editor or it needs to be euthanized. Probably the latter. John Goodman and Ken Watanabe lend their voices serve as decent comic relief but there’s not a lot that can save this film. Bumblebee deserved better.
I guess even Michael Bay must have realised that by the fourth outing, this franchise needed refreshing. To that end, the previously long-suffering cast have been allowed to hang up their screwdrivers and a new set of characters have been drafted in. They are led by "Cade" (an enthusiastic Mark Wahlberg). Now he just happens to buy an old truck and it just happens to turn out to be the long lost "Optimus Prime". Of course, there are still agencies hunting for the robots and soon he and daughter "Tessa" (Nicola Peltz Beckham) are on the run from a militia controlled by the manipulative industrialist "Joyce" (Stanley Tucci). Quite why it needs to take 2¾ hours to get to the standard denouement is anyone's guess. Despite the inclusion of some Tyrannosaur-bots, the film has the same relentless predictability as the "Autobots" and "Decepticons" (if you can spot the difference) go through the same repetitively staged combat scenes before an ending that relies unduly on human intervention (oh yes, and lots of sentimentality too) before we essentially start back at square one with the usual "Optimus" monologue concluding the proceedings. This has the added benefit of a truly terrible performance from the always over-rated Kelsey Grammer who had a few, entirely futile, goes at being a cinema baddie and unlike the other films which had a semblance of internationalism to them, this is now an entirely American affair that just bored me. Surely no more...?
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