The fourth instalment of the Transformers franchise is the film equivalent of being repeatedly hit over the head with a hammer.
With a running time of two-and-three-quarter hours, TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (12: Paramount) is the longest and most wearisome sequel yet.
This bloated, high-tech, high-decibel robot fantasy reboot sees Mark Wahlberg take over as the lead.
He plays struggling engineer Cade Yeager, who becomes embroiled in a power struggle between a shady CIA operative (Kelsey Grammer) and a tech billionaire (Stanley Tucci) when he comes across Autobot leader Optimus Prime.
Following the destruction of Chicago in Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, the Autobots are in hiding from the US government after being deemed a threat to humanity.
The action sequences are impressive and for the Christmas toy market, there’s the explosive introduction of the Dinobots. But this empty spectacle is all there is in an assault on the senses that dazes and confuses as heavy metal fatigue piles up.
At least Wahlberg is a more convincing action hero than Shia LaBeouf.
> Crime caper 22 JUMP STREET (15: Sony) sees Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill return for duty.
The big surprise in this sequel is that the partnership has lost none of its charm since 21 Jump Street.
Jenko and Schmidt are sent undercover to college by their hot-headed police captain (Ice Cube) to identify a drug dealer with links to a kingpin (Peter Stormare).
But when one joins the American football team and the other falls in with a crowd of Bohemian artists, loyalty to their new cliques puts a strain on their friendship.
This outing is even funnier than the first and explosive stunts aside, the terrific chemistry between Tatum and Hill really sets the screen alight.
> Yet another sequel, animated adventure HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (PG: Twentieth Century Fox) picks up a few years after the first adventure.
Viking Hiccup and his dragon pal Toothless explore lands far from their home village and meet an array of friends, foes and family members, both dragon and humnan.
After successfully persuading his people to live in peace with dragons, teenager Hiccup now faces a new threat from a warlord who is capturing the flying lizards to build an army.
It’s all aerial battles and coming-at-you swoops mixed with some quieter character-led moments. The addition of Hiccup’s long-lost mother Valka (voiced by Cate Blanchett) is welcome.
Less kiddie-friendly than the original as it’s sadder and darker, yet compelling in the way it explores the relationship between man and beast.
> Combining colourful inventiveness, engaging characters, eye-popping spectacle and fun-scary set pieces, fantasy adventure THE HOUSE OF MAGIC (U: Studio Canal) is utterly charming.
A stray cat wanders into a magician’s mansion and finds it is full of strange gadgets. The illusionist allows him to stay, to the annoyance of his other pets, but the cat proves an invaluable addition to the group when their owner’s scheming nephew plots to take the house for himself.