Transformers: Age of Extinction

This PG-13 Sci-Fi outing was waaay more fun than we expected. Because the humor was character driven rather than derived from punch lines or insults, we credit the writer, Ehren Kruger, who specializes in action and suspense ("The Ring 1 & 2" and "Transformers 1 & 2"). Because the action has a LOT of blowie uppie stuff, we credit the director, Michael ("Bang! Bang!") Bay, who has made a highly successful career out of second-rate, mindless action flicks.

Of course this is absolutely loaded with Computer Generated Imaging, but luckily it has a generous amount of closeups with human beings dealing with human issues: e.g., a father who realizes his 17-year-old daughter has a REAL boyfriend; an inventor having trouble paying ordinary bills; a patriot who fiercely clings to his beliefs even after all evidence shows he has made a tragic mistake. Nothing really new here, but packaged nicely.

We see:
  • Mark Wahlberg ("Lone Survivor") Father of a teenage girl, this character has a talent for inventions but lacks business sense. He borrows some money to buy a trashed semi truck then discovers holes in the radiator from anti-tank missiles. Suddenly his lonely farm is teeming with cop cars and black SUVs, because SOMEONE wants it. Our story begins...
  • Nicola Peltz ("Bates Motel") is that (usually) obedient daughter who has landed a special date for the prom. She is exasperated by her father's careless treatment of money, but works with him on his inventions...AFTER she has finished her homework.
  • Jack Reynor ("Delivery Man") When he and that protective father are cornered by Decepticons, he yells,"We're not doing this to save your daughter, we're doing it to save my girlfriend!"
  • Stanley Tucci ("Hunger Games") has developed a new generation of transformers which will make Optimus Prime and his ilk obsolete.
  • Kelsey Grammer ("Partners") and his right-hand man Titus Welliver ("Argo") make us hate mankind.
It was fun watching Tucci and Wahlberg schlep that absurd nuclear device (Yes, that's what I said!) all over Hong Kong as a battle royal rages around them. It was refreshing to see the loyal daughter turn and wade back into the fray because her father had been left behind.

Two scenes had me convinced I suffer from acrophobia: the first is a high-wire bit as our heroes attempt to flee on cables stretched high over the city. The second was a parcour-style chase scene on the balconies and ledges of a Hong Kong tenement. Both had me holding my breath. I never thought I'd say it, but: Good job, Mr. B.
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Here is the trailer:
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