Transformers: The Last Knight Review (2017)

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Ouch. Well that was a painful slog. You would think that after seeing the previous four Transformers movies I would have learnt my lesson. But no, I keep giving Michael Bay the benefit of the doubt, only to have him let me down yet one more time. I’m beginning to wonder if I have some hidden masochistic tendencies.

As you may have gathered, the fifth (Fifth!!! Can you believe it?) instalment of the robots-in-disguise franchise has not fixed the flaws that were inherent in the films that preceded it. In fact I would say that the problems have gotten even worse, as incredible as it may seem.

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The Last Knight showed a lot of promise in the trailers coming up to its release. The first official trailer narrated by Anthony Hopkins actually made it seem that Bay had gone for a different approach with this film, less hectic and more evenly paced, but it’s all a sham. Nothing really seems to gel together. Everything about this movie is stilted. The dialogue, the cast, the plot.

The story behind The Last Knight is pretty convoluted. It has the protagonists chasing after a McGuffin once again but takes us on one crazy trail after the other, piling on more and more hidden lore about secret organisations and ancient transformers in Earth’s history that after a while it just becomes laughable.The 140 minute run time could have easily been trimmed to 90 minutes if the film-makers has just bothered to excise all this unnecessary baggage that really added nothing to proceedings.

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Interweaved within all this traipsing about is the juvenile humour that the transformers movies have become known for. Autobots and Decepticons doing little dances here and there, supporting actors throwing in one-liners that fall flat, heck there are even baby dino-bots!!! Does this means transformers have sex? Do they go into labour? Is there a Transformers nursery somewhere?

Now even a bad script might be salvaged if the main leads in the film give us something to care about, but alas that’s too much to hope for. Mark Wahlberg is phoning it in as Cade Yeager. He’s pretty much there to look good in tight shirts and deliver lines that are meant to be heartfelt but just come off as cheesy. And Laura Haddock as Vivian Wembley is no better. She is obviously meant to be Megan Fox 3.0 and a romantic interest for Yeager, but Haddock and Wahlberg have no chemistry together. From the moment the two meet, they antagonise each other, trading sarcastic remarks for no good reason other than the writers thinking “Let’s make them hate each other first, and then make them fall in love. That’s totally original and no-one will see it coming”. Yawn. What makes this relationship worse is that the dialogue and the interactions between the two are just lazily written. They are insulting each other one minute and then casually flirting the next, often right in the middle of a battle. I’ve seen more sexual chemistry between two pieces of chalk.

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Upping the annoyance factor is Isabela Moner as Izabella. The stereotypical rambunctious tomboy who can take care of herself, she ends up putting everyone in danger with her thoughtless attitude. This girl has zero survival instincts and often causes a lot more damage with people trying to save her because of her reckless behaviour than any of the Decepticons ever could. This is one character I wish they had just cut out of the movie. She really had no point and was more an exercise in frustration than anything else. This could also be said about John Turturro‘s Agent Simmons. I still don’t understand why he was there. He would randomly appear, spout some insipid line and then be gone.

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To be fair it’s hard to be invested with any of these characters, even if they were well written,  due to Michael Bay’s frenetic style of editing. Each scene is a series of quick cuts, interspersed with slow-motion.Once a character delivers a line, we aren’t given any time to see the character emote before Bay cuts to the next scene. Sometimes a character will be walking on one location saying a line and then mid-sentence the scene will cut to another location while the actor continues his line. I can deal with that stylistic choice when it’s done once or twice, but not through the whole movie. But Bay’s biggest crime is throwing so much action and set pieces onscreen that after a while it all just gets a bit boring. Hey, it’s another explosion with a whole bunch of transformers that I can’t tell apart. Oh goody.

Look, the special effects are good, and sometimes the musical score is pretty epic, but this is a mess of transformer-like proportions covered with the trappings of shiny special effects.

If I were you I would give this a miss, and I give Transformers: The Last Knight a 2 out of 10.

 

2 Score

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