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Lelia Nebeker Headshot

Transformers: Age of Extinction Is Exactly What You Think It Is

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Just when you thought the Transformers saga was finished, Michael Bay went and did it again. Transformers: Age of Extinction is everything you'd expect from the fourth blockbuster film based on a line of toys from the '80s. It's 165 minutes of explosions, alien robots, dinosaurs, and alien robot dinosaurs. This installment swaps out the human portion of the cast (I guess Shia LaBeouf was too busy getting arrested) from the first three films and replaces them with Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, and Stanley Tucci.

I'm not sure what's harder to believe: alien robots that can turn into luxury cars, or Mark Wahlberg as an oblivious inventor from Texas. How did a bumbling engineer get so buff? Lifting all his failed robotic contraptions? It's best not to dwell on the details of Extinction's plot. Like how Peltz's lipstick is always perfect, even after days of being on the run from the CIA and sleeping in train cars. Just don't worry about it.

The only thing Transformers movies do better than CGI robot fights and mass destruction of major cities is seamless product placement. Why wouldn't a giant robot have the Oreo logo plastered across its torso? Not to mention the hilariously out-of-place Armani Jeans billboard that serves as the background for a major battle scene in the middle of Hong Kong. The best part is probably when Wahlberg and co. crash a small spaceship into a random car, and when the man who owns it asks if Wahlberg has insurance, Marky Mark grabs a bottle of Bud Light off the ground (where half a dozen beers are conveniently scattered), pops the cap off using the stranger's car door, and takes a swig. Bud Light: the preferred drink of earth-saving badasses.

While Wahlberg does a great job of juggling saving the world, threatening his daughter's speed racer boyfriend, and delivering sassy one-liners, the supporting cast carries their weight too. Tucci is fabulous as always, playing a Steve Jobs-like billionaire inventor who learns the hard way what he could have figured out from reading Frankenstein: that a scientist can't always control his or her own creation. In this case, his creation wants to destroy the human race. Titus Welliver (The Good Wife, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) plays his usual role of the nefarious, no-nonsense man with a badge -- the chip on his shoulder is optional -- who says things like, "My face is my warrant." (That's an actual line from the movie, by the way.)

Overall, Extinction is a perfectly adequate summer blockbuster with a lot of pizzazz and little substance. The explosions are big, the jokes are funny, and sometimes the giant alien robots actually ride robot dinosaurs. Oh, and surprisingly the film actually passes the Bechdel test (but only by one line). What more could you ask for from a Michael Bay movie, really?