Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback and Tobe Nwigwe (L-R) pose at the New York premiere of “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” (Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures).

(“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” trailer courtesy of Paramount Pictures)

Before the “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” advance screening in Houston began on June 6, excitement filled the theater.

Children and parents alike ran to get their seats.

Critics crowded in and began talking about the new box office giant.

However, when some critics did not bring their usual plus one, many replied that their plus ones did not really enjoy “Transformers” movies.

While that is a valid and understandable reason to stay home, the new “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” movie would have probably changed their minds because of the “dopeness” of the movie from top to bottom.

Furthermore, “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” contains enough elements for multiple genre lovers, not just those who love summer action blockbusters or the old transformers toys from back in the day.

From the graphics, the usual fire action scenes, the human interest/family saga, the coming-of-age element of the protagonist and the nostalgic hip-hop and R&B from the 1990s, what is there not to enjoy about “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts”?

The only criticism of “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” is the same criticism that has for many action and superhero movies and that is the formulaic plot of the bad guy trying to accumulate power to rule the world and/or destroy the world versus the good guys doing everything in their power to prevent doom and apocalypse.

In “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts,” a vile god seeks to obtain a transwarp key that will allow him to transport himself to any planet and give him invincibility to stop all adversaries from preventing his plan of world domination and damnation.

But although many of the inhabitants of other planets are no match physically for this vile god, that does not mean they cannot thwart or delay his plans via their own ingenuity.

On Earth in 1994, Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos, “A Star is Born”) has no idea that the universe is facing impending annihilation.

In “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts,” Noah has way too much regular stuff on his plate to think about some space age nonsense that would not make sense to any sane human being.

Noah is simply just trying to keep his head above water so that he can help his single-parent mother Breanna Diaz (Luna Lauren Velez, “New York Undercover”) and sick little brother, Kris Diaz (Dean Scott Vasquez, “In the Heights”).

His little brother is suffering from a sickle cell disorder.

And although Kris endures some trying times, his spirit and resolve are never broken totally.

That strength is something Noah and his mother desperately need because they are at the end of their rope trying to afford healthcare for Kris.

Unfortunately, they owe the hospital a nice sum of money for past medical services.

Furthermore, Noah has found it difficult to obtain a job because of some mistakes he has made in the past on other jobs.

Although Noah’s Brooklyn neighborhood has many colorful characters, he has avoided getting involved in anything that could put him on the wrong side of the law.

He makes a few spare dollars doing electronic work for friends in the neighborhood.

As a result of helping those friends, he gets a proposal to pull off a caper when he yet again fails to impress a potential employer on a job interview.

Noah’s friend Reed (Houston rapper Tobe Nwigwe) gives him a mission of stealing a Porsche at a fancy event.

Unfortunately, the Porsche is no ordinary automobile.

And when Noah finally can get inside of the Porsche, he gets involved in a world and war he never knew existed.

Also in New York, Elena Wallace (Dominque Fishback, “Judas and the Black Messiah”) is working as an intern at a museum and art gallery.

Although she knows more about art and ancient artifacts than her boss, she is relegated to getting coffee for her superiors.

Elena’s boss knows that her intern is a genius when it comes to her field.

However, the boss uses Elena’s ingenuity to boost her own status on the job, instead of promoting the intern to a position more suitable to her talents.

When an unusual artifact ends up on her desk, however, Elena’s own curiosity leads to her entering the same battle for survival as her future friend Noah finds himself in.

And what a battle it is, as to be expected from the “Transformers” franchise.

And while acting is never a strong suit of summer action blockbusters, Ramos brings enough acting chops to make up for those that do not.

It is great to see Ramos spread his wings entirely in Hollywood and Broadway playing in critically acclaimed films like “A Star is Born” and “In the Heights” to venturing into future box office star type-roles in “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.”

However, a pleasant surprise is the chops shown by Houstonian, Nwigwe.

In a role that one could have easily seen John David Washington cast, Nwigwe shows he is an actor to watch out for in the near future.

Hip-hop heads and Houstonians know of Nwigwe’s genius.

Now, action movie fans will witness it too.

But the real charm comes from Diaz and Pete Davidson, who voices the transformer, Mirage (aka the Porsche that Noah attempts to steal).

Optimus Prime will always be the man.

But Mirage is newer school cool than the old school Optimus Prime.

But that is the beauty of “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.”

The movie blends the old school nature of Transformers.

It brings in some new elements to accompany the famed Autobots.

And it brings back “real” hip-hop and R&B of the 1990s.

That combination should please the masses and obviously lead to a massive haul of dinero.







Todd A. Smith
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