Before beginning this review, bear in mind this is a Michael Bay film. Which means it will be about 20 minutes too long, have more explosions that D-Day, and will have a script written for 8-year-olds. All that being said, this installment of the “Transformers” is one of the better ones – thanks mainly to the human cast.
“Mahky Mahk” Wahlberg plays a down-on-his-luck inventor (in Texas … with zero accent of any kind … riiiight) who discovers that the truck he’s trying to scrap for parts is actually a Transformer. His daughter (who’s as hot as Megan Fox ever was) is secretly dating an Irish Pro-Rallye driver … and is his navigator. So … that’s a quarter star just for bringing Pro-Rallye into a mainstream film. The young couple are believable and there’s some good dialog between them and Wahlberg … mainly because the actors can, you know, act.
Veteran character actor Stanley Tucci plays Wahlberg’s evil counterpart, running a massive corporation that’s trying to reverse engineer the Transformers. The effect is kind of like: “What if Steve Jobs was a James Bond villain.” His character is great, especially once he falls for his hot Chinese assistant/Ninja – then he gets a chance to play a more comedic role which he excels at.
Kelsey Grammer plays the evil CIA dude and he does a good job in the role. Well, he does as well as he can with the dialog he’s given … which is wooden and repetitive. It’s not a role we’re used to seeing Grammer in, but he has the right kind of delivery to pull it off.
The rest of the cast is kind of nondescript, but who cares. The core cast are more than good enough to make the whole thing work. The special effects are, of course, excessive. There are some interesting new twists to the robots which are really well rendered. The storyline itself answers some questions about where the robots really came from, but they should have spent another five minutes on it instead of opting for more explosions.
As with any Bay film, you really need to suspend belief that human beings could survive some of the action and crashes, much less walk away from them with only superficial scratches. If you start saying “they could never survive that” then go out of the theatre, get some popcorn and smoke a joint, and then go back to the movie. There are the expected, signature, whiplash-inducing jump-cuts and lack of flow, but because Bay has an actual cast this time the movie is watchable and even fun at times.
All in all this is a fun summer movie and not a bad way to kill a couple of hours. It’s not high art (did I mention it was a Michael Bay film?), but the actors are fun to watch and you won’t feel cheated.