Transformers: The Last Knight
An unlikely alliance is tasked with saving the world as humans and the Transformers go to war.
Mark Wahlberg recently revealed thatTransformers: The Last Knight marks his last appearance in the franchise, quipping, "It's the last one, so I get my life back!"
Wahlberg’s sentiment is all well and good for him, but those of us who’ve sat through the fifth instalment of the sci-fi action flick will no doubt be wishing we could get just 149 minutes of our lives back.
Like the other movies in the series, inspired by Hasbro’s toy cars, director Michael Bay places a focus on style over substance, and once again the plot ends up being a chaotic and confusing mess.
Bizarrely, the narrative kicks off in ancient England, where the wizard Merlin (Stanley Tucci) comes across a Transformer and begs for its help to save humanity. The robot agrees, and the secret is held onto by the Knights Templar and generations of the secretive Order of Witwiccans.
Flash forward to the present, where we find that Optimus Prime has been forced to return to the planet of Cybertron by the villainous Quintessa, who hopes to draw Earth’s resources to fix her own home.
But Optimus Prime’s disappearance has sparked a war between humans and robots, with governments forming the Transformers Reaction Force, led by Colonel William Lennox (Josh Duhamel), to hunt down and destroy the mysterious machines.
Meanwhile, outcast inventor Cade Yeager (Wahlberg) realises that to keep the peace, he needs to keep the ‘good’ Transformers on side, and ends up making an unlikely alliance with the orphaned mechanic Izabella (Isabela Moner).
But that’s not all when it comes to plot strands, as Cade is also simultaneously drawn into a storyline in which a magical talisman has attached itself to his arm.
This occurrence catches the attention of English astronomer Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins) and Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock), a Professor of English Literature, who call on Cade to aid them with their search for Merlin’s hidden staff.
But screenwriters Ken Nolan, Art Marcum, and Matt Holloway didn’t stop there, packing in a father-daughter subplot, a blossoming romance, a WWII flashback, a visit to Stonehenge, a London car chase, and a reference to original Transformers hero Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf).
That’s not to mention a plethora of supporting characters, each of whom barely catches a minute onscreen.
While the narrative jumps all over the place, the story eventually reaches a crescendo whereby Vivian and Cade adventure both deep undersea and into the depths of outer space to combat Quintessa, and risk everything to get their hands on the all-powerful staff.
While many of the scenes oddly lack any action, at least Wahlberg does a nice job of playing the everyman and keeping some of the various storylines vaguely engaging. Hopkins also seems to delight in the role and has a lot of fun playing an eccentric patriarch.
Sadly, Bay falls into the same old trap of objectifying the female characters, and while Moner sparkles on screen as mechanic Izabella, she doesn’t have much to do, while Haddock falls into the “sexy professor” category whose qualifications are surpassed by a focus on her push-up bra and “stripper dress”.
Somehow 46-year-old Wahlberg seems a little too old to be pursuing Haddock, 31, and there’s next to no romantic chemistry between the two.
While the plot left little to be desired, at least the graphics are top notch, and the Transformers are all remarkably rendered.
That said, the whole production runs 30 minutes too long, and perhaps should be best left to its key demographic – teenage boys.
© Cover Media