Eventually Michael Bay will tire of shooting orgasmically erupting explosions foregrounded by actors running in very, very slow motion, the sheen of heroic sweat on their faces and toned arms highlighted by an always-setting sun. He will tire of stringing together images that are less a story than a chain of ideas for dorm-room posters. The day will come when jamming together toilet humor, shattering machinery, and near-pornographic worship of American techno-military might will hold no more interest. Hopefully that day will come before Transformers 3: You Remember When We Said This Wasn't Over, Optimus Prime? Well, We Were Telling the Truth. Anything's possible. Nobody thought that Woody Allen would ever make a movie outside of New York.
More heavy metal demolition derby than movie, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen takes up where the first one left off -- probably, it's difficult to remember. Suffice it to say that the fighting isn't over yet. The Autobots (the good shape-shifting alien robots) have teamed up with humanity to hunt down what's left of the Decepticons (the bad robots) with one of those super-cool elite military strike teams where everybody zips around in helicopters and Humvees and gets to bark into radio headsets. A battle in Shanghai that wipes out several miles of highway -- and also includes a line never before heard in American cinema, "punk-ass Decepticon" -- provides a hint that more robot-on-robot fighting is to come, with humans stuck in between. The Decepticons need to find a little piece of metal, the Autobots don't want them to find the little piece of metal, and before you know it the President is getting hustled to safety and Egyptian ruins are being pummeled into sand. Article continues below
While all this is going on, Sam (Shia LaBeouf) is getting ready to go off to college while dodging saying the "L" word to his girlfriend, Mikaela (Megan Fox). This appears to be included because somebody told the filmmakers that including emotions for the humans on screen might help hearts beat a little faster the next time they're running from the Cuisinart blades of a Decepticon. That somebody was probably the same person who told the filmmakers that shots of a dog trying to have sex with another dog are golden. It's apparently such a rock-solid bit that the film also includes a scene where one of the small, comic-relief Decepticons tries to mount Mikaela's leg. Yes, that scene is actually in the film, somewhere after the one where Sam's mom eats pot brownies and sometime before our heroes manage to drive from the Great Pyramids in Egypt to Petra in Jordan and back in about ten minutes. Golden moments, all.
Oversexed, underwritten, gun-happy, baffling, and boring as a test pattern, Revenge of the Fallen is little more than an excuse to send robots smashing into each other for an excruciating two-and-a-half hours. There are occasional breaks between explosions for expository soliloquies performed in high-Saturday-morning-cartoon-camp mode. If the rest of the film wasn't so frantically trying to appeal to adults who ought to know better, this sort of tone would make sense. But by jamming the garbled mythology of a lousy kids' toy advertisement into a leering, ultra-violent action franchise, the filmmakers create a hybrid monster that at first seems designed to appeal to nobody. But at a time when kids are being pushed to grow up instantly and adults are encouraged to cultivate their arrested development, it makes perfect sense that Michael Bay is waiting for them right in the middle, Happy Meal in hand.
June 24th, 2009 (wide)
October 20th, 2009 (DVD)
Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Isabel Lucas, Rainn Wilson, Matthew Marsden, Ramon Rodriguez, Hugo Weaving
Total: 731 vote(s).
Action & Adventure, Science Fiction
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Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material.