Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Li Bingbing Director: Michael Bay
The Indian Express ratings: **1/2
Four years have passed since a bunch of warring bots trashed Chicago, killed scores of humans, and split the scene. From the ashes of the destroyed Transformers rise the new gen bots. Or at least that’s what a greedy billionaire is after. He’s backed by a rogue CIA agent, who can whistle up the troops as inimitably as only Hollywood– and Spielberg– can : cars speeding down highways, rising dust plumes, uniformed officers spilling out, and everyone going bang bang.
That, as we know, is whole raison d’ of the Transformers series, based on dinky toy cars that transform, and in the process spread delight amongst legions of little fellows and manufacturers Hasbro. Robots clank about, make jokes to pass the time, but finally get down to business–of blowing up everything in sight– cities, buildings, people. Creating mayhem, just the way little boys and those whose inner little boy is alive and kicking, like it.
It also gives producer Steven Spielberg and director action-meister Michael Bay a fourth go round at creating the latest slugfest between Autobots and the Decepticons. In this one, a robotics inventor ( Wahlberg) in rural Texas picks up a battered truck hoping to trade it in. His pretty daugter ( Peltz) is not amused and mouths off, arraying before his dismayed eyes a car racing boyfriend ( Reynor), who looks much too old for her.
Wahlberg, replacing Shia La Beouf, plays a good ol’ American daddy-o who is much too possessive about his teenage daughter, who like all good American teenage girls knows that snogging is her birth-right. Right on cue, the evil Galvatron shows up, as does the injured Optimus Prime. And his Transformer pals, familiar from the previous series. As the good and bad bots go head-to-head, egged on by the billionaire ( Tucci) and the CIA hound ( Grammer), it comes down to that old reliable chestnut – to save the world.
Or at least, to save Optimus Prime, him with his blue eyes and noble mien, so that there can be yet another Transformers film. That is the main, clear objective of this film. That, and Blowing Things Up.
So it’s no surprise that the plot is besides the point. Like the previous ones, this latest is all about the noise that Bay can generate, and he is Hollywood’s biggest detonator, no contest. The endless car chases, explosions, crumbling buildings, are all tricked out at ear-shattering decibels. As is the main act of the robots transforming from cars to trucks to bots and back again, while getting down and dirty. Good for you if you like that sort of thing, and I am reliably told that there are enough fans of the franchise to line up for fresh installments, even if it is basically more of the same.
I can tell you that they introduce a new bot—a dinobot, which is, yes, a dinosaur robot, which adds a little scamper in the all the lead-footed stomping. Also, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the 3D : the glasses were light and the screen stayed lit up, rather than dark. Wahlberg is suitably enthusiastic, Peltz is chirpily blonde, and Raynor satisfactorily buff. Tucci is tops, clearly having a lot of fun, especially when he (and the gang) is running about Beijing and Hongkong.
A special word for the last long segment which is based in these two cities, and what it says about the world that we live in : Hollywood is having to bow to the purchasing power that this part of the world represents, by locating at least half an hour of the film in what used to be dismissed till recently as ‘the Orient’. This is not just about selling a bunch of toys. This is also about co-opting big, bad China into the Hollywood fold, and conquering fresh markets.
So where’s the next `Transformers’ going? Tokyo?
(Follow Shubhra Gupta on Twitter
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