Michael Bay should be arrested for robbery. 154 minutes with booms and bangs, here and there; robots that oddly can't move all right without hitting or destroying something in their way (e.g., buildings or cars); a bunch of people who, either always scream or talk nonsense (e.g., Shia LaBeouf), end up with another bunch of people whose job, either are only as cameo or fan service (e.g., Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). In addition, it is even possible that one would yawn during the shootouts, not because it's boring, but because it's past the closing time. You can cut in the middle of it and still get a clear view of what is going on or how it ends. Oh yeah, the images are real cool and bla-bla-bla, things we should have said before when they done the first 3-D movie. It is mindless, hopeless and incredibly boring for a standard summer movie. I don't even dare to analyze how stupid the characters are, even by 'normal' standard. The screenwriter was supposed to write an apocalyptic movie; to our surprise, he'd write a real disaster movie. My only wonder is that when the producers finally saw the credit, how much did they bet this would turn success?
There are few differences I could catch from this one, compared to the previous installments. First, story-wise, it was more specific. The heist scheme provides a better track for the audience to enjoy 'something' other than the action. While the plan itself is laughably predictable, the execution was done elegantly. Secondly, it was more of real action than just a game of race. The filmmakers did not forget to put the action in, but they had done it with a serious effort to emphasize the essence of the series: true action. Third, it was more dramatic. The performance of the actors are not necessarily important in this kind of genre, but the cast suit themselves very well. You can enjoy the show without being resorted to mundane, mindless acting; these guys are the show. Technically, I can't say a thing about the engines, but the direction was quite familiar. It gives a feeling of liberation and wild, but at the same time, it's melancholic. Overall, it was a good ride. Probably the best in the series.
It was meant to be brutal, but none of the actions were too violent by standard. It seems like Bodyguard at first, ends like it, but it doesn't maintain the same pattern of motion. Characters come and go without elaboration what exactly they were there for and what becomes of them. Too many simplification, considering what the story is about. The performances are weak; Farrell acts like any Irish gangster should act, but he thinks he's playing in Woody Allen's movie. No comment on Knightley; too much concern on stock character can dull one's critical artistic judgment. I'd admit, though, it started well and it ended better.