Tag: Michael Bay

Transformers The Last Knight: review

Action aficionado Michael Bay returns to his beloved Transformers franchise with The Last Knight, with humans and Transformers at odds without any leadership and with Optimus Prime gone, a secret powerful artefact may have a deadly secret, the film stars Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock, Josh Duhamel, Jerrod Carmichael, John Turturo and Stanley Tucci.

Love them, hate them, the Transformers films are still trucking on, with Michael Bay seeming to come up with increasingly out there and elaborate ideas for his plots, though he’s drawing a lot more from the cartoons and source material now, which is a welcome change. And yes, I’m starting the review on a positive note, though there’s quite a lot to unpack, Bays ambition is clear and present here, though the plot resembles Dark Of The Moon with the whole bringing Cybertron to Earth thing, the plot does differ quite significantly.

We get yet more transformers on both Autobot and Decepticon sides, and interestingly the Decepticons get a bit of personality this time around, not simply being cannon fodder and we also get a few new human characters that play alongside Cade now that his daughter is out of the picture (sort of), Anthony Hopkins is a treat as Edmund Bunton and is presumably loving being in the role as he really gets to play it up, to a lot of comic relief. While we get the returning Mark Wahlberg as aspiring inventor Cade Yeager and new character Vivian Wembley, English lecturer and professor at Oxford University who serves as an opposite to Cade and is an important part of the plot, though getting into details would be spoiling things.

For the most part, the characters chemistry and relations are quite fun and a highlight of the film, Cades’ back and forths with the Autobots and Vivian are fun, albeit a bit juvenile, as is to be expected in a Transformers film but a new addition to the cast in Edmunds robot servant Cogman brings quite a lot of laughs and humour to proceedings and the result is one of, if not the funniest film in the entire Transformers series in my opinion. And now for the bad, The Last Knight amazingly isn’t the longest film in the franchise but it feels like a slog in sections, with a lot of travelling sequences and build up to action, along with some awkward dialogue that is shoehorned in for humour, I can absolutely get why long time fans of the series would be turned off. It’s also again quite cliché with re-using certain characters and tropes that we’ve come to know from the series, Bumblebee saving the day, Optimus giving speeches and so on and while I’m not hugely bothered by this, other film goers may be a bit tired of it.

And funnily enough, if you’re seeing this because you’re a big Optimus Prime, prepare for disappointment with Prime not even heavily featuring. But a positive, there are some great visuals present and some pretty awesome spectacle as well with relation to the latter half of the plot involving Cybertron, Bay seems to have filmed the action a bit more clearly than in previous films and it’s always a bit cool to see transforming alien robots go at it, with some new added features also.

So while the film isn’t a complete disaster, it feels a bit tiresome and overly long in sections, with weird cuts, a bit of a convoluted story and the final third just feels very samey and by the numbers in relation to other Transformer films. And while it may be great to see sexy super cars, Bumblbee and Optimus again, for the little we do see of him – but you do get the feeling that Michael Bay may have just run out of ideas for his own series.

6/10
. Pacing isn’t great, some sections drag on
. Plot feels tropey and a bit too samey
. Well done humour, good comic relief

Transformers review

Transformers is the first live action adaptation of the popular and iconic Transformer characters, centred on the struggle for dominance between the sentient, autonomous Autobots and Decepticons alien robots who arrive on Earth in search of a source of great power, the film stars Shia Labeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson.

Michael Bay is in his element in Transformers, the first of his Transformers films and it works as a fairly formulaic foundation for the films to come, as a Bay blockbuster, exposition comes fast and in condensed form, characters are set up quickly and there’s a fair share of juvenile humour to appeal to a broad audience. And despite these things that mostly make for annoyances, they work well with the film to create an entertaining and engaging thrill ride.

The film is cast well and Shia love him or hate him, is enthusiastic and fulfills the role he’s supposed to as Sam Witwicky, as does Megan Fox as Mikaela Banes, clearly used as eye candy by Bay, Fox also has her decent moments of her own but in the end the film doesn’t hinge on its human characters, though Sam is important for the story. The transformers themselves are the spice of the film and each have their own personalities from the rule abiding short tempered Ironhide to the fun loving Jazz to the stoic leader Optimus Prime.

While the Decepticons equally have their own personalities but are notably less distinct and sort of blend into the background aside from Star scream and Megatron. Optimus Prime and Megatrons relationship is an interesting one, vastly contrasting characters and leaders of their own factions, their fight scenes are also some of the better ones in the film, with two long time rivals going at it.

The effects in the film are great though and watching the Transformers battle each other and importantly – transform makes for some pretty great spectacle. And the action also reflects how good the visuals are (for the time at least), Autobots and Decepticons transforming mid fight and going through all sorts of variations made for some fun set pieces. Another good thing is the way the action is shot, we can  actually see what’s going on for the most part as giant robots with dozens of moving parts duke it out, with Bays later Transformers film action getting a bit muddled, action is varied, frenetic and subject to change as the characters can transform mid fight and so on.

The plot is fun and engaging but ultimately a tad generic and predictable, you can see things coming a mile off and it’s far from a ground breaking action film but it’s still fun and has some good spectacle, this isn’t a film you watch for the human characters or stories but for the giant transforming robots and for what it’s worth, they make a decent outing.

7/10

. Has some great visuals

. Well done action scenes, set pieces

. Formulaic plot

Armageddon review

Michael Bay directs this big budget disaster film after an asteroid the size of Texas is discovered, on course for earth, NASA recruits a team of drillers in an attempt to save the earth, starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Steve Buscemi.

It’s silly, it’s stupid, it’s inaccurate, it’s Michael Bay people, Armageddon arrived in a wave of a few late 90s disaster films and it did its thing, not being groundbreaking but being fairly entertaining nonetheless and alongside Bad Boys may just be the most Michael Bay like Michael Bay film ever. Bays own genre motifs are all present here from lens flare, a clear patriotic American theme being present, the main characters walking towards the camera in slow motion etc etc.

And for all the misgivings against Bay, these things don’t necessarily overshadow the film and as a disaster film it’s Okay, with some vague science there and well bad science really from jagged, sharp looking asteroids to the idea of landing astronauts on one and drilling into it with our current technology (though we have landed a sattelite on a comet), it’s silly stuff but somewhat entertaining. The cast does a decent enough job with no performances being that great, though Bruce Willis is probably the star of the show as Harry Stamper and fits well into a big scale non action film, while Billy Bob Thornton was alright in it as well as Dan Truman.

With the disaster looming and the asteroid coming no matter what, the impending sense of doom is there and things get a bit more tense as things go on but that tension is relieve a tad as this is a Michael Bay film and you sort of know what to expect, that being said, later scenes in the film are a bit suspenseful. And again the film plays up the patriotism thing and the idea of self sacrifice for the greater good with some emotional moments that work decently enough but not enough to make the film necessarily good.

The result is predictable, silly fun that is easily forgotten among the 90s better movies but if anyone can do big budget disaster decently, I suppose it’s Michael Bay.

6.5/10

. Predictable plot

. One dimensional charaters

. Decent special effects

Bad Boys review

Director Michael Bay comes fast out of the blocks with the crime comedy Bad Boys, a film that for all intents and purposes inspired modern buddy cop films, as two enthusiastic detectives protect a murder witness and investigate another case, the film stars Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Lisa Boyle.

Probably one of Michael Bays better action films, Bad Boys still carries several Bay-isms from lens flare to slow-mo to crude main characters but this time around it feels… fun, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are brilliantly cast in it as Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett and work quite well off of each other and together and the writing brings out some intense performances from them both. With both of them being quite funny and serious when they need to be in other scenes, though Will Smith totally steals the show in one of his funniest performances so there is some good writing present for sure (though not written by Michael Bay).

The crude, in your face nature of the film is polarizing of course, you’ll either find it hilarious or just obnoxious and it’s a film that makes no apologies for its style, tone and humour, which does work well in some points though the film isn’t necessarily hilarious throughout. The plot is pretty bare bones here however and with a basic premise, you know roughly what’s going to go down and there are a few predictable elements. As well as a modern action trope of the bumbling henchmen and throwaway bad guys and the evil big bad who’s pulling the strings and is laughably one note but who cares about depth here, *insert explosion in slow mo*.

The action is decently done though and Bay knows how to direct frenetic, somewhat tense scenes with plenty of destruction present and madcap shootouts, though throughout the scenes there’s always the undercurrent of humour as Mike and Marucs banter with and play off of each other, despite the situation, this may take out some of the tension but it does play up to the buddy cop sub genre. And as a buddy cop film, Bad Boys works fairly well, not bringing anything groundbreaking even with its Bay-isms and use of lens flare and slow-mo which soon made its way into modern action films everywhere after The Matrix, the thing to note here is that Bays action films don’t exactly innovate or bring much new to the table but they work as serviceable films in terms of what they’re trying to do.

Decent action flick but nothing mind blowing, the film is well cast but far too light on plot even despite it being a Michael Bay action film, though there are some decent laughs in the film.

6.5/10

. Good chemistry between Smith and Lawrence

. Some decent action scenes

. Predictable plot