Imagine being flung into a giant clothes dryer. Only instead of clothes, it’s loaded with giant fighting robots.
Round and round they go. Klank, klank, klank.
Or rather: KLANK!KLANK!KLANK!
(Those are ultra-amplified, super-speedy onslaught sounds of those metal monsters disassembling and reassembling themselves.)
Tough on the ears.
What kind of sadistic person would subject an audience to such savage sonic punishment? Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to Michael “Balooey!” Bay: director, executive producer and chief inflicter behind the “Transformers” franchise.
That “balooey” is because that, in addition to all that KLANKing, there are in Bay’s pictures explosions.
Ever so many deafening explosions.
In fact, I’d say the EPM ratio in “Transformers: The Last Knight” (that’s Explosions Per Minute; I just made that up) seems beyond anything in any previous “Transformers” big-screen feature. Of which there are five, with the string stretching back to 2007.
By now, 10 years into the mission, these movies seem practically interchangeable.
Their lengths, onerous. They clock in at an average of 2 1/2 hours.
Their dialogue, ponderous. “When all seems lost, a few brave souls can save everything we’ve ever known.” And: “The imminent destruction of all we know and love, begins now.” There is an overabundance of lines like that.
Their plots, ridiculous. “Last Knight” lumps together the King Arthur legend (those ’bots fought for the knights of the Round Table, this movie will have you know), World War II, the mystery of Stonehenge, apocalypse in modern-day Chicago, an ancient alien spacecraft that looks like it flew in from the “Alien” movies, a submarine chase and intergalactic huggermugger pertaining to the origins of ’Bot No. 1, Optimus Prime.
Granted, there have been some changes. The annoying Shia LaBeouf has been swapped out for the less annoying Mark Wahlberg as the leading man who spends his time running and dodging and shooting and gaping at millions of dollars worth of fake-looking, computer-generated special effects.
Megan Fox is long gone in the eye-candy department, replaced by Laura Haddock, as an Oxford professor of ancient history.
Series regular John Turturro has been relegated to a couple of scenes set in Cuba that have him barking gibberish into a pay phone for unclear reasons.
For more cultured gibberish, Anthony Hopkins is on hand in an on-screen narrator role. Lots and lots of explanatory exposition is his contribution.
Why would the Oscar winner associate himself with this hot mess? Maybe it was the lure of a scene in which he shouts at the British prime minister: “Shut up! Shut! Up!” Not to mention the lure of a big, fat paycheck.
When words fail in “The Last Knight,” the crunching and crashing and KLANKing of the special-effects scenes take up the slack.
Punishingly overwrought in every aspect, “Last Knight” is a KLANK! KLANK! KLUNKER.
Transformers: The Last Knight
☆ 1/2 stars out of 5
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock, Jerrod Carmichael, Isabela Moner, Santiago Cabrera
Director: Michael Bay
Running time: 2:30
Rated: PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of sci-fi action, language and some innuendo.