Comfortable and Furious

Transformers: Age of Extinction


Two hours and forty-five minutes, huh?

Two hours and forty-five minutes.

I’m sure the complexity of the story necessitated the runtime. Wouldn’t you have been completely lost if they left anything out?

Yeah, I was having trouble keeping up with the nearly three hour runtime. I mean, robots are fighting other robots and the CIA. How do they keep coming up with these completely original stories? It’s crazy.

How long until a loud black woman starts yelling at people?

12 minutes, though she is never seen again afterwards. The movie is bereft of minorities in general; Michael Bay seems to have pulled away from his usual embrace of crass Americana, leaving Transformers: Age of Extinction his most boring movie since The Island. Sure, there’s a woman of Chinese descent working as Stanley Tucci’s character’s assistant, and Ken Watanabe voices a Samurai Transformer, but that’s about it. What happened, Michael? What do I have to do to see a Hispanic gentleman exclaim “¡Dios mio!” as his taco truck transforms into a 40 foot tall robotic Speedy Gonzales?


So what is this one about? I’ve totally forgotten the others.

Who knows? I’ve already forgotten half of it and I just finished watching it. It is all over the place in the first 20 minutes or so. Dinosaurs are killed by a “Transformium” bomb in the opening. I wept for the innocent brontosauruses (brontosauri?) that were slaughtered. Then we cut to the present, where some people find a dinosaur encased in metal in the Arctic. Then we cut to Marky Mark’s wacky inventor purchasing an old projector from a rundown theater. A character remarks that movies are all shit nowadays because they’re “sequels and remakes… bunch of crap.” This really happens!

Mixed in there somewhere is a bit with some CIA guys teaming up with an evil Transformer named Lockdown, or Lockout, or whatever to hunt down the Autobots. Ratchet is brutally killed. I don’t even know who that is. Oh yeah, and an old truck that Marky Mark bought from the movie theater turns out to be Optimus Prime. Then the CIA storms in and tries to kill Marky Mark and his daughter. They are saved by her boyfriend, an expert driver who happens to be Irish. I think they just made a dart board with character traits on it and used a drunken three tosses each to write everyone into the movie. By the way, I just checked the DVD again, and all of this comprises only the first 40 minutes of the movie. Say it with me, now: Jesus Christ.


It’s beyond story. It’s beyond narrative. It’s about feeling.

It’s about many things. This is a movie about Obama, the fall of the American Empire, the ascendancy of China, and 17 year old girls’ asses. It’s a complex, mature work that analyzes our society on all levels, with each layer telling the story of our modern American existence in an exciting new way. In many ways, this is one of the defining films of our era. Just as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was the worst movie released in the last decade by a country mile, Transformers: Age of Extinction is the most important film released in this one. Future generations will be analyzing this, folks. It is the final word on Obama’s Presidency and what life is like within it. Here, within Transformers 4, we find our tomb.


I’m bullshitting you, obviously, but only slightly. Transformers: The Fourth One shows Michael Bay at odds with himself and with our current American government. He shies away from his usual masturbatory display of military hardware and American dominance. There are no beautifully-lit American helicopters majestically flying across an perfectly-tinged orange sky. Here, the full effects of Obama have been felt. The CIA is corrupt to the core, hunting down the Autobots as part of a shady deal with Lockdown. A defense contractor is involved with this shady deal, using the parts of defeated Transformers in an attempt to build a robot army. The President’s Chief of Staff is incompetent and oblivious to their machinations, just as Obama is in real life. Sure, the movie makes some half-hearted attempt to show that this is a rogue faction of the CIA, and not the Agency itself, but much as with Above the Law, we all know what’s really going on here.

The CIA storms in to Marky Mark’s farm and immediately places a gun to his daughter’s head. When his friend (or brother, or something) tells them that they’re acting unconstitutionally, he is smashed down to the ground and held at gunpoint. In most Bay films, such a moment would be a “Hoo-Wah!” moment, where liberals crying for their civil liberties are uniformly told to shut the fuck up and the American audience erupts into rapturous applause in the theater. Here, there is a sadness to this moment. Bay seems almost… I don’t want to say “upset”, but he does seem concerned about the injustice. The ravages of the Snowden revelations have taken their toll, and even Michael Bay is having trouble with these gentlemen now.


Maybe he just didn’t have time for the helicopter displays. I mean, he only had two hours and forty-five minutes to work with. Give the guy a break!

I think I was just so bored watching this movie that I made up my own story for it. Whatever. It’s not like anyone really needs an actual review of this garbage. I guess if you’re interested, here it is: It’s shit. There!

Anyway, the evil CIA guy (played by Kelsey Fucking Grammer) rants about how he gives his life for God and country, how he must destroy all Transformers to preserve American dominance, and whatever else. One of the main villains of the movie is a God-fearing patriot. How else am I supposed to parse this? Did Michael Bay really make this movie? My God, our country really is in trouble.


Frasier Crane is the bad guy? That’s awesome!

It is! I’m not even sure why they bothered with the other bad guys. Lockdown is boring, and Galvatron (aka the reborn zombie Megatron) doesn’t seem to do all that much. They just have him there for the inevitable sequel. We just can’t get enough of these movies! I can’t wait to see what twists they have for us next!

Anyway, every time they said “Lockdown”, I kept thinking of Lockout, a film I watched recently that was about Guy Pearce saving the President’s daughter from a space prison. That was an awesomely retarded movie. Transformers: Age of Extinction just sort of… exists. Also, I’m not entirely sure that the bad guy was called Lockdown. Lockdown may have been another Transformer. Hell, maybe they were just telling somebody to lock down a facility somewhere. I really don’t know. He was the guy with the giant spaceship, if you’re confused.


That’s some subtle product placement in the above screenshot. Any chance of women in lingerie in this monstrosity?

Nope! There was an earlier scene where they crashed into a product placement Bud Light truck; in the aftermath, Marky Mark opened a bottle and drank some of it. Here, though, we see no Hong Kong models in Victoria’s Secret attire. Michael Bay: you have failed.

Bay doesn’t shy away from repeatedly showing the jean-short-clad ass of his lead actress, though. Even after her character is revealed to be 17 years old (below the age of consent in California), he can’t stop showing it. Then again, I couldn’t stop looking at it, so I’m not judging. I cannot judge. I’m just saying that this means something. This situation has content. I’m just not sure what, exactly.

I have some thoughts about what it means, but I’ll refrain from sharing them.

What? Please do!

You’re just… I can’t. I can’t even


Anyway, care to summarize the rest of the film for any interested readers?

Well, if we rewind back to Marky Mark and friends escaping from the CIA at the forty minute mark, we have a long section where Optimus Prime regroups the hiding Autobots and Marky Mark discovers the defense contractor’s involvement. The head of the defense contractor is played by Stanley Tucci, who is one of the few bright points in this film. There’s a bit near the end where his character has a mini-breakdown in an elevator in Hong Kong that actually made me laugh a bit. It was, in all honesty, the only time I felt any emotion while watching this entire film.

Anyway, the Autobots raid the defense contractor’s main office, destroying their R&D lab and saving one of the mini-Autobots from one of the other films. Kelsey Grammer gives chase while Stanley Tucci moves his remaining tech to China. Somewhere in all of this, Lockdown appears in his giant spaceship and captures Optimus Prime. This necessitates an overlong sequence where Marky Mark and the other Autobots sneak around the ship and rescue him. Oh yeah, Marky Mark’s daughter was also kidnapped by accident. It’s just one thing after another with no attempt at making it all flow together. Things happen, shit explodes, etc. I know that this is a common criticism of Bay’s films, but this one really hits that mark. It’s just a sequence of… things.

Then we get to Hong Kong. Oh my God.

Wait, I thought it said they were in Beijing. What happened?

They switched to Hong Kong pretty fast. If you blinked, you missed it. I’m not sure Bay cares, though. It’s “a city where Chinese people live”, basically. Hell, they could have set it in Alhambra. You know. Whatever.

So Stanley Tucci has a Transformium bomb that he obtained from his deal with Kelsey Grammer. However, he reneged on his side of the deal once he realized that Megatron had secretly hijacked all of his prototypes. Megatron activates the prototypes and starts blowing shit up while Marky Mark, Stanley Tucci, and other assorted people attempt to keep the bomb out of the hands of Megatron and the CIA. Kelsey Grammer gets pissed when Marky Mark kills his friend, an expert CIA assassin thwarted by an all-American football throw. Frasier calls Lockdown and tells him that it’s time to take out the trash.

Do they say “shit just got real”?


Fuck this movie.

Seriously! But the most hilarious moment is yet to come. Remember when I told you that the elevator freakout was the only time I laughed? I lied. In an effort to appease the Chinese government, Bay includes a scene where authorities in Hong Kong exclaim that they need to call the central government for help. We cut to Beijing, where the government states that they are sending jets to protect Hong Kong because they care. However, these jets are never seen in the film. At no point do they arrive. That’s right: in an effort to make the Chinese government look good, Bay trips and forgets to actually follow through with the jets shooting something. Then again, I may have missed the jets; really, who knows what happened in this movie? It still made me laugh, though. We’ve got to make sure China is cool with us! We need to sell our shitty movie over there!

God, is this thing over yet?

Not quite! The best part of movies like these is that you can just summarize the plot and get a decent review out of it. You don’t even need to add in jokes most of the time, since the story itself is hilarious. Anyway, Optimus Prime crash-lands the mini-spaceship that they stole from Lockdown’s giant spaceship off in a forest somewhere. He realizes that they need reinforcements, so he releases some Dino-Bots from Lockdown’s space prison. The T-Rex doesn’t want to hear any of this noise, so Optimus needs to best him in hand-to-paw combat to obtain his help. Yeah, I’ve seen this in JRPGs before too, Bay, but we’re in China. You know, an entirely different country.

So Optimus beats the Robo T-Rex, and the Autobots ride into Hong Kong atop robo-dinosaurs while a robo-pterodactyl flies along behind them. Oh yeah, Optimus has a sword for some reason. He was a knight in a previous life or something. I vaguely recall this being in at least one of the other movies, but I still have absolutely no idea what’s going on.

Do they beat the bad guys? The suspense is killing me!

There’s all sorts of other shit that happens, including a bit where Lockdown’s spaceship activates a giant magnet and keeps lifting and dropping cars and buses off of and onto Hong Kong streets. Things happen, and then other things happen, and causality goes out the window. What’s going on? Where are we? Why are we alive?

Anyway, Kelsey Grammer is shot and killed by Optimus Prime; at some later time, Optimus slices Lockdown’s face in half after stabbing him in the back. In between, the daughter and her Irish boyfriend use a truck and towing cable to pull a sword out of Optimus’ chest. Marky Mark fires an alien laser gun at Lockdown during all the bruhaha. Stanley Tucci gets a boner for his Asian assistant. Thousands upon thousands of people die, but it’s all good because there’s no blood or on-screen casualities. Afterward, I start writing a review of this trainwreck. Five minutes ago, I wolfed down two Pop-Tarts only to discover that they were one day past their sell-by date. Pray for me.

Then Optimus Prime takes the Transformium bomb and flies off into outer space, leaving humanity at the mercy of a reborn Megatron. Great parenting, Optimus.

Any final thoughts?

I think this is the end of the line for America, folks. Even our shitty summer blockbusters can’t pretend that the intelligence apparatus, the military-industrial complex, and the American government aren’t out of control anymore. I just wanted to laugh at Optimus Prime riding a dinosaur, but the movie made me wait through two hours of bullshit first. We can’t get to the point. It’s just an endless torrent of ridiculous nonsense. More than that, though, it’s unfunny nonsense. It’s boring nonsense. And nobody showed their tits.

Also, I still don’t know what was in danger of extinction in this movie. I mean, can robots go extinct? Can’t you just build more? I get that they have their cube-souls, but I don’t get what all that was about. I don’t think humanity was in danger of extinction, since both Lockdown and Kelsey Grammer wanted to take down Transformers. Megatron was the only one threatening humanity, and he didn’t get to do that much in this movie. The title doesn’t make any sense!

It’s ok. It’s all going to be ok.

Oh, and what is the point of transforming into a robotic dinosaur? How are you a robot in disguise amongst dinosaurs when the other dinosaurs aren’t robotic? Am I the only one bothered by this?

Anyway: Transformium Bomb Explosion, 65 Million Years Ago. Never Forget.



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