Director: Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Stanley Tucci, Isabela Moner, John Turturro
Written by: (also story) Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan and (story) Akiva Goldsman
Running Time: 149 mins
Release Date: 22nd June 2017
I have only ever walked out of one film before by reviewing days and that was the 90’s version of Godzilla. I was ever so close to walking out on the fifth Transformers movie, The Last Knight after 30 minutes! Alas, I had to stay to the bitter end and it is 2 hours and 29 minutes of my life I will never get back. Admittedly I don’t have a great relationship with the franchise and I’m even less of a fan of its maker, director Michael Bay but I was hoping that he could prove me wrong and make a half decent blockbuster. Not a chance. This is down right terrible.
In Arthurian times, Merlin discovers a spacecraft that crashed landed years before and has used the inhabitants, Autobots, to help fight King Arthur’s battles with the use of a magic staff. Move to modern times and the Transformers have become outlawed. Optimus Prime is nowhere to be seen and the rest of the Autobots are in hiding when a planet starts heading towards earth on a collision course. The only thing that can save them is a distant relative to Merlin and a talisman that has been found by Autobot saviour, Cade Yeager.
If you are fan of the series or even a fan of Bay’s work, you will know exactly what you are going to get: crashing, ear-splitting noise, the overuse of slow motion shots, jokes that fall flat, a leering obsession with a large breasted leading lady and incomprehensible action sequences that are either unwatchable or too confusing to even care. All of these are present and correct. What Bay has managed to do this time includes a plot that doesn’t make any sense at all, a camera that won’t stay still and long scenes in which the cast explain everything and you are still none the wiser.
The film starts with this Arthurian sequence that immediately sends shudders down the spine, hoping that Guy Ritchie hasn’t been in contact and places some influence. Then we jump to somewhere in the present and that has us going to America, then Iran, then England, then somewhere and somewhere else, all with editing that would be too much for a three-minute pop video, let alone a two and half hour movie.
While this is happening Anthony Hopkins, yes, THE Anthony Hopkins, keeps popping up either narrating this nonsense or trying to explain about the past, like some bumbling old man who has wandered out of a nursing home. He has his own robot, who is voiced by an over aggressive Jim Carter, who looks exactly like C-3PO. Mark Wahlberg returning after number 4, only with more hair and doing what Mark Wahlberg does and we have Laura Haddock (who shares just a passing resemblance to Bay’s old muse, Megan Fox) as an English Oxford Professor (if you believe that, you’d believe anything) who has a habit of wearing clothing that shows plenty of cleavage as if she was auditioning for a Hammer Horror. At one point, Wahlberg says that she dresses like a stripper, which all Oxford Professors do. And John Turturro, who happens to be in Cuba, who calls Hopkins up all the time and stands looking at a map but doesn’t explain anything as to why he’s there and what he is doing.
Then we get the action sequences which once again are a series of grinding metal, sparks and smoke and incoherence leading to a 40-minute finale set at Stonehenge, where the Decepticon battle the Autobots while Wahlberg, Haddock and the US military are shooting but you have not a clue at who, While the time, you are fighting sleep. Yes, even for a film this noisy and this bombastic, it is so boring, so unremittingly dull you are having your own battle with your eyelids.
This is a cynical money making machine that doesn’t care if the audience doesn’t get it, just as long as they have paid their money for a ticket. It is crass, annoying and unbelievably contrived. It doesn’t even know what format it wants to be shown in, as it jumps from IMAX full screen to widescreen, sometimes in the middle of a scene. I am not angry that it’s so bad because I am not that surprised. I am just bored and I want my time returned to me with interest. Transformers: The Last Knight? More like Transformers: The Last Straw!