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Love it or hate it, Transformers will have you transfixed

2014-07-03 10:51:47

(China Daily) By Associated Press in New York


The latest installment of the Transformers series features a whole new human cast, including Mark Wahlberg. Photo provided to China Daily

A significant part of the movie also takes place in China-clearly a nod to the franchise's huge market in the country.

In any case, we begin in Paris, Texas, where Cade Yeager (Wahlberg), a struggling inventor, is desperately seeking a big discovery. He's also a widowed dad, and super-protective (as the movie incessantly reminds us) of his high-school daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz, blond and pretty and ineffective, though the one-note script does her no favors).

One day, Cade buys a rusty old truck. Examining it back home, he soon discovers it's none other than Optimus Prime, the Autobot hero, seriously damaged.

As Cade works on fixing him up, his assistant, wisecracking surfer-dude Lucas, has the dumb idea of calling the authorities. What he doesn't know is that the government is plotting to destroy all remaining Autobots in favor of a man-made army of Transformers. He's being helped in this endeavor by the shadowy KSI corporation, run by the nasty-but-complicated Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci).

So now, it's evil humans pitted against the trustworthy Autobots. So much for gratitude. There's also a subplot involving Tessa and her secret boyfriend, Shane (Jack Reynor, underused), whose Irish accent leads Cade to dismissively call him "Lucky Charms"-at least until the two bond in battle.

The obvious question: Is it too much for its own good? Bay is very talented at all things visual, the 3-D works well and the robots look great. But the final confrontation alone lasts close to an hour. At some point, you may find yourself simply in a daze, unable to absorb any further action into your brain.

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