Once again, this review of a Transformers movie comes with a disclaimer: It is for people trying to decide if they should shell out $15 to see it or wait til it comes out on Netflix. Fans of the franchise don't give a rat's patootie what I or any other film critic think of it.


Fans know that Michael Bay directed it and it will therefore have lots of BANG and BOOM and sparkly things and pretty girls running and sliding and even more BANG and BOOM at an even higher volume. Never mind the stupid story or inane lines. The first four films have earned a nauseating $3.7 billion dollars globally meaning there will be even more.


This time, Bay added the talents of Sir Anthony Hopkins and Stanley Tucci to the cast led by Mark Wahlberg. Bay has added a few serious actors in the past like Jon Voight, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Kelsey Grammer... to name a add a smidgen of legitimacy to the series. This is actually Tucci's second different role in the series; I guess the money is good.

Also new are the writers: Akiva Golsman, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, and Ken Nolan. Ehren Kruger, who penned that last three bailed and no one knows why Alex Kurtzman - scribe of the original in 2007 - has distanced himself from the franchise. But this is a new direction, sorta, and I guess these guys had what Bay thought was a good idea.


That idea was to somehow link the Autobots and Decepticons to King Aurthur's knights of the round table. Huh? Well the good news for Bay is that he was able to open the film with a protracted bang and boom scene as the story opens in England's Middle Ages with the Brits in battle with the Saxons. These are really cool special effects depicting the ancient carnage of war.


The Brits aren't doing so well as King Arthur (Liam Garrigan) and Lancelot (Martin McCreadie) anxiously await the arrival of Merlin the Magician (Tucci) who will supply them with his secret powers to repel the Saxons. But a drunken Merlin is still trying to make a deal with an ancient Autobot for his staff of power. He gets the staff and is now a legitimized magician, wielding the power superior aliens. But Merlin eventually dies and is buried in a secret place with the staff.

A talisman, a sword and the staff are lost to the ages of time...or so it seems. Actually, the whole reason the Decepticons keep coming to Earth is so they can retrieve the staff and save their dying planet. Thus the constant invasion. In the meantime Optimus Prime has traveled back to his planet very slowly while the rest of the autobots and decepticons hide out on Earth.


They are hiding from the NEST (Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty) forces in junk yards and other obscure places. Of course Cade Yeager (Wahlberg) is the only one who knows where the good guys are as he makes sure they are running well.


He is discovered by a wandering girl named Izabella (Isabela Moner) who wanders into the junkyard. She actually serves no purpose to the story but a way to add at least 20-minutes to the run time. Assisting Cade is Jimmy (Jerrod Carmichael) who supposedly has so tech abilities but spends most of his time screaming and running.


On the other side of the world, in the UK is Sir Edmund Burton (Hopkins) who is also looking for the staff and sword. He too will find Yeager once Yeager comes into the possession of the talisman that has some how grown attached to him. Also on the prowl is ancient history researcher named Vivian (Laura Haddock) who turns out to be a direct descendant of Merlin. Ummmmm. That's all the main characters and all you really need to know in terms of story development because the rest in non-sense.


As you can imagine, there are plenty of fights and bang and boom. Planets somehow collide in a non-apocalyptic manners and Optimus Prime gets back to Earth much faster than it to him to get to his home planet; but he's been reprogrammed by a new villain (Qunitessa by Gemma Chan) who has her own plans for the staff. Oh, and somehow those pyramids that were destroyed a couple of movies ago are back in play again. Stonehenge finally has a purpose. And....more baloney than a salumeria can make.


More importantly, the ultimate uses for the sword, the talisman and the staff are as feeble as a 286-year old man. Paleeze! I'm surprised Walberg can get through the film without falling out laughing. But I guess a paycheck is a paycheck.


To be sure, the special effects are more than decent if not completely overblown. Bay has not lost his touch there, but the story is totally bent.


"Transformers: The Last Knight" is strictly for franchise fans who gladly overlook the story inconsistencies and absurdities. The film is overloaded and overly complicated; there are at least three scenes that make no sense whatsoever. Ugh!   -- GEOFF BURTON