Optimus style over substance

Transformers: Age of Extinction. PA Photo/Paramount Pictures UK.
Transformers: Age of Extinction. PA Photo/Paramount Pictures UK.

If Michael Bay, director of ‘Transformers: Age Of Extinction’, were immortalised on-screen as a “robot in disguise”, his mechanised alter-ego might be Maximus Kaboom.

For two decades, the Californian film-maker has been elevating wanton destruction to a blockbusting art form.

Since 2007, he has been ensconced in the Transformers fold, bringing bombast to live-action adventures of the bestselling Hasbro toys.

This fourth instalment is crammed with Bay’s usual visual excesses and motifs.

Five years have passed since the Battle Of Chicago, which provided the pyrotechnic-laden climax to ‘Transformers: Dark Of The Moon’.

The alliance between humans and robots lies in tatters and an elite CIA unit under the control of Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) hunts Transformers without mercy.

On a family ranch, struggling inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) discovers that a rusty truck he has just purchased is battle-scarred Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen).

Wahlberg punches and leaps through gaping plot holes, trotting out the concerned father routine as younger members of cast perform gravity-defying gymnastics to emerge from clouds of razor-sharp shrapnel without a graze or smudged lip-gloss.

Action sequences are visual vomit: an incomprehensible spew of glistening metal and explosions that hurt the eyes especially in the large-scale IMAX format.

“The war will be over soon,” barks Grammer’s Machiavellian politician during a momentary lull.

The buttock-numbing 165-minute running time says otherwise.