I say a film of two halves, but it was more like a film of two thirds – and then another third. Most of the film plods along at a sedately pedestrian pace, dipping into history here and there to fill in a back story that provides a little relief from the drawn-out ramble to the inevitably epic finale. And what a finale it was: a cacophany of car chases, massive gunfights and expensively CGIed global devastation that raced and meandered like a torpedo with a bent propeller until you finally reach a conclusion that leaves the door swinging wide open for another movie.
The best thing I can say about the film was that it was okay. It was an inoffensive kids’ flick that you’d probably forget about as soon as you left the cinema, if not for the ringing in your ears.
Mark Wahlberg turned in his usual workmanlike performance as the male lead, and I think any problems I had with Laura Haddock as the hyper-intelligent and hyper-stunning Oxford professor (I wonder if she knows the hyper-intelligent and hyper-stunning Oxford professor who appeared in The Mummy) were probably to do with the direction. Michael Bay was once described as using the camera to lick his leading ladies, and there was a little of that here. Still it wasn’t as blatant as his previous outings so we can be thankful for that. Still, some of the scenes between the two leads struck me as a little bit ouchy, and the desperatately aimed-for comedy spark between them never really came off – unlike the curious double act of Sir Anthony Hopkins as an eccentric English earl protecting a dark and terrible secret history, and Jim Carter (Carson from Downton Abbey) playing his diminutive psychotic clockwork kung fu butler. It was bloody hilarious, and actually saved what could have been a very dull few hours. Hopkins has a talent for comedy that I never knew existed, and still managed to deliver monologue or two that made your throat tighten. Well done whoever thought to cast him.
Still, as an action movie, I think the initial pace was far too slow, and the lack of action in the early two thirds of the film only served to highlight the real lack of a decent script and coherent plot. Four out of ten.