TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN
*** (out of 5)
June 24, 2009
Shia LaBeouf as SAM WITWICKY
Megan Fox as MIKAELA BANES
Isabel Lucas as ALICE
Hugo Weaving as MEGATRON
Josh Duhamel as CAPTAIN LENNOX
John Turturro as AGENT SIMMONS
Peter Cullen as OPTIMUS PRIME
Tyrese Gibson as SERGEANT EPPS
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Directed by: Michael Bay
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
No matter what you are expecting from Michael Bay’s latest testosterone orgasm known as “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” you will probably get exactly that. If you loved the first film and thought it was the beginning and the end of cinematic action, you’ll be similarly pleased with this movie. If you hated the first film because the dialogue was so mind-numbingly bad that IQ points slipped away from you as you watched it, you’ll also feel this way about the new movie.
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is everything that made the first film awesome and terrible at the same time… to a factor of ten.
I’ll be kind and begin with the good parts of the movie. Four words sum that up: Robots blowing shit up.
This film is an action piece through and through. It’s the quintessential event movie with wild special effects, an explosive soundtrack and whip-ass action sequences. Michael Bay has perfected the art of this style, and in this respect, he makes a fine film.
Oh, and there’s a lot of hot chicks in the movie, almost to a fault. It’s like a 2 1/2 hour beer commercial, which is fun to watch but crosses the border to ludicrous pretty early on in the film.
So that’s your plus side of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”: action, explosions, hot chicks and robots blowing shit up.
Beyond that, the movie is an absolute disaster. Like the first film, when the robots step out of the action sequences, “Transformers 2” comes to a screeching halt. In fact, it actually throws itself into reverse multiple times.
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is a typical Hollywood sequel. The plot is held together with Scotch tape and bubble gum, resorting to not just one but two moments of robot narration to explain what’s going on. The dialogue is downright horrible, so bad that it will make you long for the first film’s scenes that feature Anthony Anderson.
I have a friend who likened the first “Transformers” to watching “Jurassic Park” in the theaters as a child. In the same vein, I liken watching “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” to watching “Jurassic Park: The Lost World” in the theaters… lots of cool effects, but terrible story, terrible acting and terrible execution outside of the wicked-cool action.
Sure, the action in this movie is arguably better than the first film (partly because we actually get to see the climactic battle rather than just hear about it in the background), but is it possible to have too much of a good thing? The film runs 150 merciless minutes, which makes it feel like this summer’s version of “Speed Racer.”
Were the film filled with scintillating dialogue and awesome characters, that’d be fine. Unfortunately, we’re left with Megan Fox (who is undeniably hot, but seems to have become a worse actress in the last two years) hacking through her dialogue with the finesse of Denise Richards reciting Shakespeare.
At some point in his career, Michael Bay was told that he could direct comedy. Unfortunately, he can’t. His comedy didn’t work with Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in “Bad Boys,” and his comedy doesn’t work in “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” Not that he doesn’t try. Unfortunately, it is these brain-liquefying unfunny comedy moments that provide much of the padding for the bloated script.
And that script is a mess from beginning to end. From the onset, which features African tribesmen in Egypt hunting a tiger (of which there are so many things wrong from a historic and anthropological perspective) to a fiercely convoluted plot that seems to be more of an excuse to lead into unfunny comedy or inexplicable action sequences.
To survive this one, you won’t just have to check your brain at the door. You’ll have to hermetically seal it and keep it under guard. Don’t try to think at all, even about the most mundane aspect of this film, or your brain might bleed out right there in the theater.
When all is said and done, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is worth seeing, and definitely worth seeing in the theater. Don’t wait for home video because even watching the Blu-ray on a 50-inch hi-def television with a 7.1 stereo mix, it won’t be as impressive as it is on the big screen. But don’t expect anything more than a film about robots blowing shit up.