• by Wes Singleton

Transformers: The Last Knight, D

Rated PG-13, 149 minutes

The joyless new "Transformers: The Last Knight" has something in common with its predecessors: you'll leave with a big headache after all that noise. It should come as no surprise, given that it comes from Michael Bay & company and stars a bunch of clanging robots who are better actors than many of their human counterparts. This two-and-a-half hour piece of dreck has its entertaining moments, but that isn't without some Advil gel caps and a big bag of Peanut M&M's.

In the absence of Optimus Prime, a war has commenced between the human race and the Transformers. To save their world, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) forms an alliance with Bumblebee, an astronomer, and an Oxford University professor (Anthony Hopkins, who took the money and ran fast) named to learn the secrets of why the Transformers keep coming back to Earth.

Directed by Michael Bay with a script from Art Marcum, Matt Holloway and Ken Nolan, the toothless, overdone "Transformers: The Last Knight" is the 5th installment in this series based on the Hasbro toys, and according to Bay, it's his last and hopefully the end of this film series. It's typical Bay: loud, busy, filled with splashy, expensive special effects and a silly story that makes no sense, even for a fantasy like this.

"The Last Knight" is also way, way too long, but that's none too surprising, either and good only for inducing a pounding headache by film's end, in which Wahlberg and British Megan Fox-lookalike Laura Haddock (of the much-better "Guardians of the Galaxy" series) fight against the evil Decepticons to save Earth so that everyone can live happily ever after.

Many of the "Transformers" actors, both voice and living form, return for this outing, including Josh Duhamel and the rich, velvety-voiced Peter Cullen (the voice of Optimus Prime, and one of the few good things about the movie), along with Hopkins, who does his best to lend some credibility to the proceedings, though it seems a little late at this point. The story is a mish-mash of different elements, infusing the robots at different points in history, something that's really, really confusing given the plots of the previous films.

There's one thing that these "Transformers" films have going for them (and for the record, I liked the first "Transformers" film in 2007, and none of the other ones): they're not lacking in energy, as it seems the film is on a continuous Red Bull high, mindlessly zinging from one action set-piece to another, but then that is the whole point. This hectic pacing overshadows my favorite character, Bumblebee, who has a larger part here, and a nice (a blink-or-you'll miss it type of thing) nod to Shia LeBeouf's character in the original film.

For someone who barely knows the difference between an Autobot and a Decepticon (not a fan of the TV show, either), "Transformers: The Last Knight" is mindless, loud entertainment more annoying that Tom Cruise that'll do well in spite of itself at the box-office. It is what is, you can't stop it, but let's hope this is really the end.

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