I like watching stuff smash and go boom as much as anybody. And no one does it better than director Michael Bay.
His movies have a distinct polished sheen and artistry to them that I honestly usually like in a junk food kinda way. I'm a fan of "The Rock," "Armageddon," the "Bad Boys" movies and last year's "Pain and Gain."
But for some reason, these "Transformers" movies bring out the worst in his sensibilities - specifically, not knowing when enough is enough. He lets this fourth entry in the series go an explicable 2 hours and 45 minutes - longer than "Avatar" and nearly as long as "The Godfather."
It's not like there's some epic story to unfold here.
Producers did make a good choice going with a new human cast lead by the capable Mark Wahlberg as a mechanic slash inventor who finds a Transformer.
The movie takes a long time to get going establishing the cliched relationship between Wahlberg and his daughter, played by Nicola Peltz. We're told she's only 17, and Bay also makes her the movie's central sex object, which is just a big bowl of wrong.
Father, daughter and her secret boyfriend work with Optimus Prime and the Autobots to save humanity from a new threat it created for itself. No, not global warming - a new kind of Transformer they can't control.
But let's be honest: the plot barely matters. It's merely a vehicle to get from one battle to the next. And while the visuals in this movie are impressive, there's just so much and for so long that my eyes glazed over. I started counting product placement and American flags in the frames just to stay focused.
Cut an hour out of this movie, and it's fun summer slam-fest. As it is - it's a pulverizing butt-numb-a-thon.
EPPLER'S RATING: * *
Out of five stars