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March 10th, 2018 Movie – Transformers: The Last Knight

transformers-the last knight

Another Transformer movie and I still had no desire to see it in theaters. In fact, I honestly wasn’t even going to buy it on Blu-Ray but that stupid completionist aspect of my personality made me go ahead and buy it so I could review it with the rest of them. Anyways, when the trailers for this movie came out, the only thing that piqued my interest was the fact that they said Unicron was going to be a part of the story line. However, I have been disappointed in movie portrayals of giant, cosmic beings (like Galactus in Rise Of The Silver Surfer) so I didn’t have much hopes for this. Then I started hearing the early reviews from critics, and from some sites whose opinions I actually listen too, and decided that this wasn’t worth going to see. So this is ny first time watching today’s movie, Transformers: The Last Knight, so let’s see what I am in for.

The plot: In the Dark Ages of England, a massive battle is being fought between the Saxons and King Arthur’s forces. As Arthur’s knights chastise Arthur for his faith in Merlin coming to save them, Merlin heads to a remote hillside and speaks with the Knights of Iacon, a group of Transformers that are hiding on the planet. Merlin begs them for their help and the Knights hand him a staff, saying to guard it as a great evil will one day come for it, then transform into a 3-headed dragon (Dragonstrom) and take off, joining the battle and turning the tide in Arthur’s favor.In the present day, 5 years after the events in China, all Transformers have been declared illegal and a new military force, called the TRF, has orders to hunt them down but more and more Transformers continue coming to Earth and some wonder why they are drawn there. In Chicago, a group of kids sneak into the quarantined area of the city and discover a Transformer still alive in a downed flying craft but are spotted by a pair of TRF drones. The kids are saved by Izabella, an orphan who has been living in the area, and Sqweeks, a Transformer who is unable to transform. Izabella leads the kids to her hideout, which is a dome covering provided by another Transformer, Canopy. As the drones leave, Canopy stands up and starts moving to a new location but the TRF spot him and fire a missile into him, killing him. As the security drones move to capture the kids, they are saved by Cade Yeager and Bumblebee. After getting Izabella and the kids out of the area, Cade heads back to the ship and tries to save the Transformer inside but he is too badly wounded. The Transformer tries to give Cade a talisman, saying it will protect him but Cade refuses it. As Cade leaves, he is confronted by the TRF and captured, with their field leader, Santos, asking him where he is hiding the other Transformers. Bumblebee drives up to rescue Cade and is seemingly blown up but all of the pieces put themselves back together, taking out several TRF soldiers in the process. A standoff occurs but is broken up by Colonel Lennox, former NEST commander and Autobot ally, who tells both sides to stand down. Unnoticed by Cade or the TRF, the dying Transformer sends the talisman to Cade but Barricade, a Decepticon who survived the Mission City battle years ago, sees this and drives off, as he does not want to face the TRF. With Hound showing up to cover them, Cade and Bumblebee leave but the TRF manage to get a tracking device onto Bumblebee’s fender. Later, Lennox meets with General Morshower and it is revealed that he is undercover in the TRF to try and keep them from killing off all of the Autobots. They learn that Barricade was seen in the Chicago area and is with Megatron, who was seeking the talisman as it would show the location of the Staff of Merlin, and Morshower says that they need to find the Staff and have it locked up so it can’t be used. Meanwhile, Megatron chastises Barricade for letting the Talisman get away but Barricade says that they can use the TRF to locate Cade. Out in space, Optimus Prime finally reaches Cybertron and cries out at seeing the state his home planet is in. Optimus is approached by Quintessa, who says she is his creator, and he attempts to attack her but she strikes him down and after placing him in chains, says that he will help her restore Cybertron. In England, a Transformer named Cogman approaches his employer, Sir Edmund Burton, and tells him that the talisman has been bestowed upon the new knight. Burton heads off to Oxford University, where he observes a young professor named Vivian Wembley give a walking lecture to some students about King Arthur, then he gets back in his car and speaks to it, revealing it to be a Transformer. Back on Cybertron, Quintessa tells Optimus that there is a way to rebuild Cybertron but he must locate her staff, which the 12 Knights of Iacon stole from her and gave to the humans and Optimus says he will go and retrieve it for her. In South Dakota, Cade, Bumblebee, and Hound return to Cade’s junkyard, which serves as a sanctuary for the Autobots (including Drift, Crosshairs, and Wheelie), and the Dinobots Grimlock and Slug (as well as mini versions of Grimlock, Slug, and Strafe). Cade chastises his assistant Jimmy for letting Grimlock get out of the junk yard and eat the tribal chief’s police car, as they are trying to keep a low profile so they don’t get arrested. An Autobot scavenger called Daytrader shows up and tries passing off some of the parts he found, such as Starscream’s head, when he notices the talisman and asks if it is real, saying that it is a sign of an upcoming apocalypse. Izabella and Sqweeks reveal that they had stowed away on Hound and Izabella tries to convince Cade to let her stay but he wants her to leave, as it isn’t safe for her there. Meanwhile, 6 horns have begun growing out of the Earth, with former Agent Simmons doing his own research in Cuba while Burton investigates another site and says that the horns mean that Cybertron is coming to Earth, a theory that a NASA scientist is trying to explain to his superiors. Meanwhile, Morshower tells Lennox that Megatron approached the TRF to negotiate a truce and ask that several of his associates be released from custody so they can find the talisman, which both sides are after. Lennox is made point on the exchange, knowing that both the TRF and Decepticons will turn on the other at the first opportunity, and arranges for 4 of Megatron’s Decepticons to be released. The next day, Izabella replaces Sqweeks missing arm with a Decepticon arm from the junkyard and then helps Cade replace Bumblebee’s voice box with one that Daytrader brought them, only to find that it is faulty. As the Decepticons and TRF approach the junkyard, Cade is given a warning by Chief Sherman and he has the Autobots move out to an arranged battle site while Hound stays behind to slow the Decepticons down. As the Autobots make their way to an abandoned city, the TRF gives chase but they are waylaid by Grimlock and Slug, who destroy most of their vehicles. Upset by the loss of his men, Santos ignores Lennox’s orders and sends a drone fleet out to kill Cade. In the town, Cade has Jimmy and Izabella hide while he rigs some explosives to use on the Decepticons. When the Decpticons arrive, they spot Sqweeks and Megatron grabs him, causing Izabella to rush out to save her friend. As Cade goes to rescue her, the talisman suddenly attaches itself to his arm as Cade grabs Izabella and activates the explosives. The Autobots and Dinobots attack the Decepticons, killing several of them and forcing Megatron to call for a retreat but the drones appear and start attacking Cade, Jimmy, and Izabella. As they try to escape from the drones in a hotel, they encounter Cogman, who tells Cade that his employer wishes to see him. Before they can talk any further, Cade is knocked out of the elevator by a drone and he manages to survive long enough to bring down the lead drone. Cogman approaches him and explains that Cade has been chosen to by the Knights of Iacon and he must come to England, telling him his friends will be safe as everyone is after him and the talisman. Cade approaches Izabella and tells her that she will be ok, as she is family now, and leaves her with the Jimmy and the other Autobots, then he and Bumblebee head to Cogman’s plane and head to England. In their headquarters, Morshower tells Lennox that Megatron is also on his way to England so he has Lennox and his team head there. Meanwhile, Simmons gets in touch with Burton and tells him he located a book and that he needs to meet him, as it explains what is going to happen. At the same time, NASA is continuing to track Cybertron, which is on a collision course with Earth. On Cybertron, Quintessa continues her brainwashing of Optimus, explaining that Earth is Unicron, the ancient enemy of Cybertron, and he must be destroyed so that Cybertron may live. With her brainwashing complete, Quintessa dubs Optimus Nemesis Prime and tasks him with fulfilling his mission. In England, Vivian is at her late father’s house deciding on if she wants anything but she is overcome with memories and leaves. As she gets into her car, an invitation pops out of the glove compartment and the car suddenly drives off, revealing itself to be a Transformer, Hot Rod. Vivian tries to escape but Hot Rod changes forms into a Lamborghini and speeding off to his destination. Cade, Bumblebee, and Cogman arrive at Burton’s castle and are soon joined by Vivian and Burton starts to explain why he brought them there. Burton is part of an order called the Witwiccans, who is tasked with keeping secret the fact that Transformers have been on Earth for centuries, helping mankind fight some of it’s worst battles. He then leads them to the Round Table, explaining that it was symbolic as the twelve human knights were joined by the twelve Knights of Iacon to forge the pact between the species. Burton explains that Cade was the final knight, chosen for by the talisman due to having the traits the legendary knights had, and that Vivian is the last descendant of Merlin and the only one who could use it’s power. The TRF and MI6 arrive at the fortress and Cade and the others are forced to flee, with Cade and Vivian going back to her father’s study to figure out where the staff might be hidden while Burton heads to the library, contacting Simmons and swearing him in as a member of the Order of Witwiccans. Simmons guides Burton to where the book is, and as Burton reads it, he learns about Earth being Unicron and that Stonehenge is the convergence where Cybertron and Earth would connect. Back at Vivian’s house, Cade finds a picture of her and her father, which leads Vivian to discovering a childhood book that has the location of where Merlin’s tomb is located. Avoiding the TRF and Barricade, they head to the naval museum, meeting up with Burton and Cogman there, and sends them out on an old WWII sub, which happens to be a Transformer. Burton then heads to see the Prime Minister and convinces him to prepare for war as Cybertron arrive in the moon’s orbit, destroying the Ark and it gets closer to Earth. On board the sub, Cade and Vivian reach Merlin’s tomb, which is inside the ship that brought the Knights Of Iacon to Earth but they are followed by Lennox and his team. Cade and Vivian discover Merlin’s tomb and open it only to find MErlin’s body clutching a wooden staff. Thinking the staff must be somewhere in the room, Cade starts searching for it only to awaken one of the Knights of Iacon, who attacks Cade to defend the staff. Lennox and the TRF show up and begin shooting at the Knight, knocking it down a hole into a lower chamber of the ship as Vivian grabs the wooden staff and it transforms into the Staff of Merlin. When Lennox orders her to drop it, she threatens to drop it down the chamber unless he lets them go. Two more knights come alive to protect the staff but they are taken out by Optimus Prime, who demands that Vivian hand him the staff. Cade tries to talk to Optimus but when Optimus shows no sign of recognizing him, Cade tells Vivian to give Optimus the staff. As Optimus leaves, the ship suddenly starts rising to the surface and Cade tells Bumblebee they have to stop Optimus. As the ship surfaces, Optimus and Bumblebee start fighting, with Cade trying to get through to Optimus but to no avail. When Optimus is about to kill Bumblebee, Bumblebee calls out to Optimus in his own voice, which manages to reach Optimus and free him from Quintessa’s control. Suddenly, Megatron and Onslaught attack Optimus and rip the staff from his chest and fly off to Stonehenge. The Knights of Iacon then appear and attack Optimus, preparing to kill him for betraying his species but Cade is able to stop them when the talisman on his arm transforms into Excalibur. At Stonehenge, Megatron is preparing to activate the device when Burton leads an attack on them but Megatron mortally wounds Burton and flies off to Cybertron.  Megatron gives the staff to Quintessa, who activates the ignition chamber and tells Megatron to guard the chamber and make sure Vivian doesn’t enter it. Hound and the other Autobots arrive, along with Izabella and Jimmy and they come up with a plane to remove the staff and stop Quintessa. Using the Autobot’s ship to carry the TRF Ospreys into the upper atmosphere, the make their way to Cybertron’s surface, with the Autobots and Dragonstorm providing cover fire. When they get pinned down and can’t advance, NASA scientists come up with a plan to shoot down one of the anchors and have it knock the ignition chamber loose, hoping it will stop the reaction. Receiving the orders, Lennox and his team head off to light up the target for the air strike, just as Sqweeks, who had stowed away with Izabella, manages to take out the cannon, while Optimus and Dragonstrom kill Quintessa’s guards. The Autobots keep going for the ignition chamber and Vivian and Cade choose to go with them, leaving Izabella to evacuate with Lennox and his team. They reach the chamber and Megatron attempts to stop them but Optimus kicks him out of the chamber and into space. Optimus and Bumblebee then kill Quintessa and Vivian manages to remove the staff, stopping the reaction from destroying Earth. With the reaction stopped, Cybertron is now anchored permanently to Earth and Optimus contacts the Autobots and says they should head back to Cybertron to begin rebuilding it while Cade and Vivian, drawn together by the past events, decide to forge a relationship. Meanwhile, Quintessa is shown to have survived the attack and, disguised as a human, approaches a team studying one of Unicron’s horns and tells them she knows how to destroy it.

Transformers: The Last Knight met with poor results from the critics, holding a 16% rating in Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Cacophonous, thinly plotted, and boasting state-of-the-art special effects, The Last Knight is pretty much what you’d expect from the fifth installment of the Transformers franchise.” Steve Buscemi, who voiced Daytrader, was Michael Bay’s choice to play Agent Simmons in Transformers, but Buscemi was unavailable so the role went to John Turturro. The movie had the worst performance in the series, earning $605.4 million off of a $217 million budget, and while no new films in the series have been announced, a spin-off movie starring Bumblebee is in the works to be released in late 2018.

Let down, after let down, and once again I am let down. This movie was disappointing on so many levels. The acting was ok, with the returning characters doing good jobs reprising their roles, though I will admit that I would have loved to have more of John Goodman’s Hound on screen. The story was 1/4 interesting, 1/4 recycled, and 1/2 crap. The interesting part was the TRF and their attacking any Transformer indiscriminately, much like Cemetery Wind did in the last movie. The recycled part was the whole Transformers being in the dark ages, as that was actually a short comic book story line from the 80’s. The crap part was everything else. The whole Unicron being Earth was honestly stolen from the Transformers: Prime cartoon but even then they did a piss poor job of portraying what is essentially the ultimate bad-ass villian for Transformers. Meanwhile, Quintessa was supposed to be the Quintessons from the cartoon but she was just a pale mockery. However, my biggest complaint story-wise is that we have Megatron, essentially back in his original form, but no explanation as to what happened or how he changed from Galvatron back into Megatron. That alone is driving me nuts about this movie. As for the final battle, I know that most of these movies you have to go into with a sever suspension of disbelief but even still, I had a hard time not thinking that everyone would already be dead due to the Earth ripping apart when Cybetron got that close to it. As usual, the special effects were really good and I did like the mini-dinos and Dragonstorm, but special effects can’t help a movie that much when the story is crap. I know that Michael Bay said this would be the last movie he does for the series for the time being and I honestly hope it stops with this one because I don’t know if I can handle another one.

Rating: 2 out of 5

 

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March 9th, 2018 Movie – Transformers: Age Of Extinction

transformers-age of extinction

When the news first broke about a live action Transformers movie, I think there was one question that most fans had on their minds; would the Dinobots be in it. When the sequels came out, that question kept popping up, especially after Devastator was seen in Revenge Of The Fallen. Finally, seven years after the series started, the trailer came out for the 4th movie and the fans were finally getting the Dinobots on the big screen; and I honestly had no desire to go see this in the theaters. Don’t get me wrong, I did want to see it, but I have been somewhat underwhelmed by the movies and just figured I would wait to see it when it came out on DVD. That is honestly a sad state of affairs when robotic dinosaurs aren’t enough to get me to see a movie in theaters. Oh well, Michael Bay got my money since I bought it on Blu-Ray so let’s sit back and enjoy today’s movie, Transformers: Age Of Extinction.

The plot: Millions of years ago, an alien race arrives on Earth and begins using their machines to terraform portions of the planet, killing off the dinosaurs as the planet is covered in molten metal. In the present day, geologist Darcy Tirrel arrives at a dig site in the Arctic Circle, where her workers have discovered the remains of a dinosaur that had been encased in metal frozen in the ice, prompting her to shut the site down so they can examine it further. Meanwhile, after the events of Chicago, Congress has formally abolished the partnership with the Autobots and a C.I.A. team known as Cemetery Wind has begun hunting both Autobots and Decepticons down, wanting to keep their technology in U.S. hands but their director, Harold Attinger, says that Japan and some other countries have some as well. In Texas, Cade Yaeger and his assistant Lucas Flannery arrive at a rundown theater and look around to see if there is anything worth salvaging when they come across an old semi cab in the main hall that piques his curiosity and he buys it from the theater landlord. At Cade’s house, his daughter is having a video chat with her boyfriend Shane when she sees her father pull up with the semi in tow. As Cade has the semi brought into his garage/workshop, she argues with him over his spending money on junk to try and fix up when they have bills that aren’t getting paid. When a realtor shows up with a couple to look at the property, claiming that he is 6 months behind on his rent, Cade chases them off but Tessa asks what will happen when she leaves for college. Elsewhere, a Cemetery Wind team tracks down and begins attacking Ratchet and bring him down, then he is approached by Lockdown, a Cybertronian bounty hunter that is working with Cemetery Wind to hunt down the Autobots. Lockdown asks Ratchet where Optimus is and when Ratchet refuses to answer, Lockdown stabs Ratchet through the chest and removes his spark. Back in Texas, Cade is examining the semi and tells Lucas and Tessa that he thinks it’s a transformer. Lucas and Tessa want to call the government, as there is a reward for information on any transformers, and Cade says he will but wants to examine it first so it can help him with his own inventions. When Cade removes a missile from the semi’s engine, it transforms into a badly damaged Optimus Prime, who draws his gun on the three humans. Cade convinces Optimus that they won’t hurt him and Optimus says that he was caught in an ambush by humans and something else and has to warn the rest of the Autobots. Cade offers to help repair him, sending Lucas into town to get some parts needed but Lucas secretly calls the government hotline when he is out. After meeting with Lockdown, Attinger returns to Langley and receives the intel about Optimus’ location and sends out a Cemetery Wind team, led by James Savoy, to capture/kill him. When Cemetery Wind arrives at Cade’s home, the search the premises but find no sign of Optimus and begin questioning Cade, threatening to shoot Tessa if he doesn’t answer. Not wanting innocent people to be hurt because of him, Optimus reveals himself from where he was hiding and begins attacking Cemetery Wind, yelling for Cade to run for it. Lockdown attacks Optimus, blowing up Cade’s home in the process and gives chase while cade and the others run and are picked up by Shane. Shane drives off, with Cemetery Wind in pursuit, and manages to avoid them but damages his car in the process. Optimus manages to get away from Lockdown and pulls up to help Cade and the others but Lockdown throws a grenade that transforms the ground into molten metal and Lucas is caught in the blast and turned into a statue. Cade, Tessa, and Shane get into Optimus and drive off and Optimus leaves them at a gas station while he makes sure they aren’t followed. After questioning Tessa and Shane about their relationship, Cade begins to hack the Cemetery Wind surveillance drone he grabbed when he was captured and sees video of Cemetery Wind killing some of the other Autobots. Realizing they are on their own, Optimus changes forms and meets up with Bumblebee, Hound, Drift, and Crosshairs; the only surviving Autobots left. As Optimus tries to figure out why they are being hunted, Cade shows the Autobots the footage from the drone and says that after the Autobots are killed, trucks from a robotics company called K.S.I. Industries arrive to pick up the remains. Since K.S.I. is located in Chicago, the Autobots head to the outskirts of the city while Cade, Tessa, and Shane get some supplies and try to find a way inside the building. Inside K.S.I., Darcy is talking with K.S.I. CEO Joshua Joyce about the find in the Arctic and Joyce explains that the metal she found is Transformium, the same metal that the Cybertronians are made from. He shows her how the metal can be made into anything then takes her to their military design room, where they are creating their own Transformers. Joyce shows her that they have Brains held captive so he can help translate the information from the head of Megatron but is upset when he finds that every time they try to create their own Transformer, Galvatron, in the shape of Optimus, it keeps turning out like Megatron. Cade manages to clone an employee badge and he, Shane, and Bumblebee sneak inside the company, where they find that K.S.I. has built another transformer, called Stinger, which is patterned after Bumblebee. As Cade goes looking for infomation, Joyce has a secret meeting with Attinger, revealing that they have a deal with Lockdown where when Lockdown gets Optimus, they will get something called “a Seed”. Cade activates a camera in his glasses to relay what he sees to the other Autobots and Optimus is upset to find that Ratchet’s head is being melted down for the Transformium and heads towards the building. Meanwhile, Cade starts talking with Darcy when Attinger sees him and orders security to detain him. Attinger starts to question Cade about Optimus’ location when the Autobots attack the building, rescuing Cade and Brains but Joyce confronts Optimus, saying that they can build their own Transformers now so they don’t need him anymore. The Autobots leave but Attinger has Joyce send out Galvatron and Stinger to capture them but Galvatron begins resisting his programming, attacking innocent cars and firing at random. During the course of the battle, Tessa ends up trapped by a car near where Optimus and Galvatron are fighting and is forced to take shelter inside to avoid being crushed. Suddenly, Lockdown appears and begins firing on Optimus and Attinger orders Galvatron and Stinger recalled. Lockdown captures Optimus, and inadvertently grabs the car with Tessa as well and Cade tries to help her get free but is unable to hold onto the net. As Optimus is taken to his cell, Lockdown brags about his ship belonging to the Knights, of which Optimus was a part of, but he commandeered it. Tessa is taken to the trash room and manages to escape the car before it is torn apart and goes looking for Optimus. Lockdown’s ship heads to Chicago, where he hands over a seed to Savoy but while his ship is stationary, Cade, Shane, and the Autobots manage to sneak onboard and start looking for Optimus and Tessa. As the engines prepare for takeoff, Crosshairs activates the anchors to give them some more time but Lockdown sends his hounds and minions to look for them. Cade and Shane find the Knight’s armory and grab some weapons and use them to fend off some of Lockdown’s minions, then finally find Tessa. Meanwhile, the Autobots locate Optimus, who tells them that the section they are in can separate from the main ship so Hound heads to the flight deck while Drift works on freeing Optimus. Cade, Tessa, and Shane attempt to climb down the anchors back to the city but come under attack from Lockdown’s hounds and are rescued by Bumblebee. Crosshairs grabs a flier to get them and bring them back to the ship but they come under fire and are forced to fight their way free, damaging the flier in the process. Meanwhile, Lockdown prepares to warp into space but Hound manages to separate their section before he leaves and flies off. In Chicago, Joyce orders all of the Transformium, as well as Galvatron and Stinger and any remaining Transformer bodies, to be transferred to K.S.I.’s China facility, telling Attinger to bring the Seed there. Bumblebee takes Cade and Shane to meet up with the rest of the Autobots and Optimus tells Cade that he sensed Megatron’s presence when he fought Galvatron. Brains then explains that While K.S.I. had him deciphering Megatron’s brain for their programming, Megatron was still active and hijacking their programming to make him a new body and once they got the Seed, he would use it to build a new army to conquer the world and Cade says they have to get the Seed before Galvatron does. Learning that Joyce had gone to China, Cade contacts him and warns him about Galvatron no longer being under his control and though he is skeptical of Cade’s credibility, Joyce orders Galvatron’s container not to be opened or activated. Back in the states, the authorities start to converge on the ship and Cade, Tessa, Shane, and the Autobots board it to get the Seed, but Optimus says that afterwards, they will be leaving the planet for good. In China, Joyce meets with Attinger and Savoy, who deliver the Seed and Attinger asks when his products will be available but Joyce tells him he wants to hold off on making more robots until he figures out why Galvatron malfunctioned. In the hangar, Galvatron suddenly activates and hacks into the other robots, taking control of Stinger and every other robot that K.S.I. has built and sends them to locate the Seed. When Joyce gets word of what happened, he as Darcy meet him and Li Bingbing (the owner of the Hong Kong facility) outside and they take off, leaving Attinger and Savoy, and the rest of the workers, to fend for themselves. Meanwhile, as the Autobots head towards Hong Kong, Cade talks with Optimus, trying to convince him to give humans another chance. Knowing that Attinger will be following them, Joyce and Li get out of the car and grab a motorcycle to try and escape out of the city with the Seed, while Darcy acts as a diversion, but the C.I.A. still manage to track them. Li sends Joyce up to the roof of a building to await extraction as Attinger, Savoy, Galvatron, and his army all converge on his location. The Autobots arrive and Cade calls out for Cade to get aboard the ship so they can get the Seed to safety but Stinger fires at the ship, knocking Cade, Tessa, Shane, Bumblebee, and Hound off the loading ramp and onto the roof, while the ship ends up crashing into the forest outside the city. Bumblebee and Hound begin fighting the Decepticons while Cade, Tessa, Shane, and Joyce get the Seed to safety. When Savoy starts shooting at them, Cade leads him away so the others can get to safety and after a chase along the rooftops and a fight in an apartment, Cade manages to throw Savoy out the window, where he falls to his death. Attinger sees Savoy die just as Lockdown contacts him, having made his way back to Earth after realizing that Optimus escaped, and Attinger tells him where they are so he can kill Optimus. Meanwhile, Optimus, Drift, and Crosshairs survived their crash and when they hear Hound calling for help, Optimus heads back inside the ship. Heading to the armory, he grabs one of the Knights of Iacon’s swords, then uses it to free the Dinobots, who were prisoners of Lockdown. After Prime leads them out of the ship, he says that they can either join them and fight together or resist and fight him. Grimlock, the leader of the Dinobots, begins attacking Optimus but Optimus manages to defeat him and forces them to help stop Galvatron, then climbs aboard Grimlock, as the other Dinobots (Slug, Strafe, and Scorn) transform and Corsshairs and Drift climb onto Slug and Scorn and the head to the city. Optimus and the others arrive just in time to prevent Hound, Bumblebee, Cade, and the others from being overrun and tell Cade and Joyce to get the Seed out of the city. Commandeering a car, they head out, with Optimus, the Autobots, and Dinobots providing an escort but as they are driving, the Seed suddenly begins beeping and Joyce realizes it is serving as a locator. Lockdown arrives in the city and uses a giant magnet in his ship to pick up dozens of boats and train cars, then drops them in the their path. As the magnet continues to attack them, Optimus manages to disable the magnet, then rushes off to face Lockdown, telling the others to get the Seed out of the city. Cade chooses to stay behind to help Optimus but as he approaches the fight, he is attacked by Attinger, who moves to kill him. Seeing Cade in trouble, Optimus kills Attinger but Lockdown uses his distraction to stab Optimus in the chest with his sword. As he moves to finish him off, Cade starts shooting at him while Bumblebee returns and, after dropping off Tessa and Shane, joins the fight. As Cade and Bumblebee battle Lockdown, Shane and Tessa use a tow truck to pull the sword out of Optimus’ chest, which he grabs and uses to kill Lockdown, then uses one of Lockdown’s grenades to finish off the rest of the drone army. As Optimus rejoins the other Autobots, Galvatron is seen in the hills outside the city, vowing to see Optimus again. Optimus tells the Dinobots that they are free now and the giant robots transform back to their Dinosaur forms and head off into the hills. Optimus then tells everyone that the Seed is still a danger and since he has a price on his head, he says he will take the Seed into space where it won’t be a danger, telling the other Autobots to watch over Cade and his family as they did the same for them. As Optimus blasts off into space, Cade hugs Tessa and Shane, approving their relationship, and Joyce approaches him and says he can help them with the rebuilding of their home, while out in space, Optimus sends a message out into space, warning his creators to leave the Earth alone, as he is coming to them.

Transformers: Age Of Extinction met with poor reviews from the critics, holding an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “With the fourth installment in Michael Bay’s blockbuster Transformers franchise, nothing is in disguise: Fans of loud, effects-driven action will find satisfaction, and all others need not apply.” While not being known for having great plots, the previous movies all were nominated for Academy Awards, mainly in the technical categories, but this movie did not earn any nominations. Despite the poor reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning $1.104 billion off of a $210 million, making it the highest grossing movie of 2014.

Good lord this was a long ass movie but at least it was entertaining. The acting was ok, with Mark Wahlberg (Cade) doing a good job as the lead, with a lot more character development shown than Shia LaBeouf ever did. I also liked Stanley Tucci (Joyce), Kelsey Grammer (Attinger), and Titus Welliver (Savoy) but thought that T.J. Miller (Lucas) was just annoying. The story was pretty good, taking some aspects from an old comic book storyline and tweaking it to add a little bit of uniqueness to it. I also liked how they worked in Megatron/Galvatron, really paying homage to the original animated movie in how Galvatron was essentially Megatron reborn. One thing that I found kind of funny, which I am sure that several other Transformers fans might have noticed, is how similar the 5 surviving Autobots were to the characters in Transformers: Beast Wars, especially in their mannerisms. The special effects were really good and I liked the designs of the new Autobots and especially the Dinobots, with the spiked exteriors making them seem more like real dinosaurs as opposed to the smoother designs from the original cartoon. It’s really too long and could have been condensed a little without losing any necessary story points but this is still a fun movie to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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August 30th, 2017 Movie – Shooter

shooter

Once again, I find myself watching a movie that is based off of a book that I never read. I remember seeing the trailers for this movie and thinking it was just another generic action movie. At some point I got bored and ended up getting a used copy of it as a spur of the moment purchase. So I ended up watching it and almost immediately afterwards, decided to buy the book that the movie was based on just to compare the two. As is usually the case, I liked the book better than the movie but you can judge for yourself as I watch today’s movie, Shooter.

The plot: On a mission in Africa in a country they are not supposed to be in, Gunnery Sergeant Bob Lee Swagger and his spotter Donnie Fenn are keeping watch over a US team as they head back to Ethiopia, taking out a military patrol vehicle when as it approaches them. When a second, larger force is spotted chasing after the US team, Swagger begins shooting at them, taking out several of the men/drivers and forcing the enemy force to focus on trying to attack them, rather than chasing after the other soldiers. They call in what is happening but the base in Ethiopia shuts down the channel, as the base commander deems them expendable. When a helicopter shows up to help the opposing forces, Donnie is killed but Swagger uses a CheyTac Intervention to take out the helicopter. 3 years later, Swagger is living in a self-imposed exile in the Wind River Range portion of the Rockies in Wyoming with only his dog as company when he is approached by Colonel Isaac Johnson. Swagger is dismissive and tells them to leave but after Johnson shows him his Congressional Medal of Honor, he convinces Swagger to give him 5 minutes to talk. Inside Swagger’s home, Johnson tells him that he needs Swagger to plan a presidential assassination, explaining that the received intel on a possible assassination attempt that will occur in one of three cities and they want Swagger’s help in preventing it. Bob tells them he won’t do it and takes a picture of their vehicle’s license plate to check their identity. After the seeing if the shot that Johnson talked about was possible, Swagger decides to help out and after going to the three cities given to him, tells Johnson that Philadelphia is the likely location. Johnson convinces Swagger to help him in spotting the possible sniper’s location and they head to Philadelphia, where the arch bishop of Ethiopia is giving the President a medal. As the President arrives, local police officer Stanley Timmons arrives at Johnson’s command post and introduces himself to Swagger, who comments about Timmons’ holster being unsnapped. When the President gets up to the podium to speak, Swagger tells them the sniper is loaded and about to fire so they should take him out now but as he turns to face Johnson, Timmons shoots Swagger. At the same time, the sniper fires but hits the arch bishop, not the President, causing a panic at the scene. Swagger falls out of the window and manages to escape, while Jack Payne, one of Johnson’s men, berates Timmons for missing him. The injured Swagger makes his way to the street, where he encounters FBI Agent Nick Memphis. Memphis draws his gun on Swagger but Swagger manages to disarm him and after telling Memphis he didn’t shoot the President, he restrains Memphis then takes his gun and car. As Timmons calls in a manhunt on Swagger, Swagger ducks into a car wash to try and stall being detected while he works on stopping the bleeding from his injuries. When the reports come in on his location, Swagger attempts to escape and after a collision with a truck, crashes into the river. Divers are called in and find the car but there is no sign of Swagger, who holds onto a rope on the side of a barge to get out of the manhunt zone and get ashore on the other side of the river, where he steals a truck and drives out of the city. After stopping in a small town, Swagger knocks out the power to a local shop so that he can buy some supplies and not get caught. After buying the supplies, he sneaks into a auto garage and uses the supplies as a makeshift field medical kit, then does his best to patch himself up in order to stay alive. Meanwhile, Agent Memphis is demoted by his superior for “embarrassing the agency” and placed in the tipline call center. When he receives a call from the clerk about what Swagger bought, he tries to tell another agent but the are dismissive of his theory. Swagger makes his way to Kentucky and pays a visit to Donnie’s widow, Sarah, to ask for her help. Though she is reluctant at first, Sarah agrees to help Swagger, who had gone there thinking she was a nurse but learns she had given up on that idea after Donnie died. Back in Philadelphia, Memphis is talking with fellow agent Alourdes Galindo and telling her his suspicions about Swagger’s guilt and says he wants to speak with Timmons, as he doesn’t believe his story, but Galindo tells him that Timmons was killed by a mugger. As Memphis continues to investigate, he checks out the church and notices some holes in the floor, which he learns were from a tripod mounted remote controlled sniper weapons system. Back in Kentucky, Sarah performs the necessary surgery on Swagger to remove the bullets and then agrees to help him in his plan to flush out Johnson. Sarah goes to Philadelphia with Swagger and he tells her to meet with Memphis and hand him the photos of the plate and VIN number for Johnson’s car. Swagger is watching their meeting but as Memphis leaves, Swagger is approached by two cops and forced to incapacitate them and escape. Memphis begins looking into the information that Sarah gave him and, with Galindo’s help, learns that they are connected to some high end military contractors but as Galindo is telling Memphis this, he ends up being kidnapped by a team of contractors. They torture him for information, then attach a device to his arm to make him shoot himself but Swagger rescues Memphis and after the two talk, Memphis agrees to help Swagger. They travel to Athens, TN to speak with a gun expert and ask him how to fire a bullet from one rifle and make it match the grooves from a different one. He then asks if anyone else could have taken the shot and the expert tells him of one other man, Michael Sandor, and Swagger realizes that he met the man. Memphis calls Galindo to ask for her help in tracking down Sander, just as Johnson decides to draw Swagger and Memphis out by offering him up. Johnson then meets with Senator Charles F. Meachum, who is in on Johnson’s operation, and Meachum tells him to make sure Swagger is killed so Johnson has Payne go and grab Sarah as insurance. When Galindo gives Memphis Sandor’s location, Swagger and Memphis go buy some supplies to make some homemade explosives, then Swagger gives Memphis a crash course in being a sniper/spotter. They head to Sandor’s house, and Swagger makes his way inside, taking out the guards along the way. When he finds Sandor and questions him, Sandor tells him about how military contractors had killed a village in Africa for the purpose of allowing an oil pipeline to go through it, then buried the bodies under a pumping station. He then informs Swagger that he was assigned to cover their escape but he wasn’t supposed to survive. Outside, a team arrives to kill Swagger and Memphis warns him while inside, Sandor tells Swagger that Johnson has Sarah before he kills himself. Swagger tells Memphis to get to a pre-arranged position and start detonating the explosives as Swagger shoots his way out of the house and the two manage to kill the team sent after them. Memphis calls the FBI to tell them he has Swagger in custody but that he can’t bring him in just yet. As soon as he hangs up, Swagger receives a call from Johnson, who had been listening in on the phone call and they arrange to meet, with Johnson agreeing to bring Meachum to the meeting and Swagger will give him the recording of Sandor’s confession in exchange for Sarah. Johnson, Payne, Sarah, and Meachum arrive on the mountain and they see a figure approaching when the figure is shot. Suddenly, a second shot rings out as Swagger kills the sniper, then kills two more counter snipers, while the figure, revealed to be Memphis, continues up to the mountain and removes the metal plate that protected him from being killed. As Payne yells out that Swagger can’t shoot him without risking his shooting Sarah, Swagger shoots the shotgun from his hand, then shoots his arm off. Swagger then approaches the group and after having Memphis disarm Meachum and Johnson, Sarah grabs Meachum’s gun and kills Payne. Swagger and Meachum then talk and as the FBI approaches, due to Memphis telling them where they would be, Swagger burns the recording, as if it was still out there then he, Sarah, and Memphis would be killed over it. Swagger is taken into custody and brought before a meeting with the Attorney General, Memphis, Memphis’ superior, and Johnson. Swagger admits that the gun the FBI found was his but after he places a bullet in it and shows that it won’t fire, he explains that he swapped the firing pin in all of his guns before he left, making it so that none of them would fire if stolen. Memphis then shows the Attorney General images from the file of the mass grave, but the Attorney General says that since the crimes occurred in another country, he had no jurisdiction over the matter and Johnson walks out of the room. The Attorney General approaches Swagger and speaks with him briefly before telling him he is free to go and orders him released. Some time later, Meachum and Johnson are talking in Meachum’s hunting cabin when Swagger kills them and causes the cabin to explode. Swagger then makes his way down the mountain, where Sarah is waiting in a car, and they drive off together.

Shooter received mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “With an implausible story and numerous plot holes, Shooter fails to distinguish itself from other mindless action-thrillers.” The scene where Swagger shoots a counter-sniper through the rifle scope and hits him in the head is based on an infamous kill by U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock, who killed a counter-sniper in Vietnam by shooting him through the scope and hitting him in the eye. Shooter was a modest hit at the box office, earning $95.7 million off of a $61 million budget and years later, would spawn a TV show based off of the movie.

I still think the book was better than the movie, but this was a decent movie in itself, despite the general feeling of being a generic action flick. The acting was good, with Mark Wahlberg (Swagger) and Michael Pena (Memphis) doing great in their roles and showed great chemistry acting off of each other. I also thought that Danny Glover (Johnson), Ned Beatty (Meachum), and Elias Koteas (Payne) did a great job in their roles. The plot was a pretty good thriller, feeling a little bit like The Fugitive in the whole innocent man trying to prove his innocence, just with more guns involved. The aspect of Swagger finding out that he unknowingly helped cover for black ops contractors doing something illegal added more motivation to his actions and helped give a better sense of purpose to his wanting to prove his innocence. The special effects in the gun fights were good for the most part, though in some cases they were toned down according to the sniper expert involved in the film. It is fairly generic movie but good enough to keep you entertained if you want to give it a shot.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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