If the idea behind “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” was to throw as many things as possible at the wall until something stuck, director Michael Bay said “Screw it,” then blew up the wall and everything (and everyone) around it.
Normally the idea of sitting still and watching a movie that’s two and a half hours long makes my attention span cringe. Yet “Revenge of the Fallen,” with its virtually nonstop action and constant attempts at humor, manages to make it the fastest 150 minutes ever.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t entertained.
For the uninitiated, Transformers are giant robots that have been on Earth for thousands of years. In the first Transformers, the Autobots (good guys, led by Optimus Prime), with the help of a geeky teen named Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), prevented the Decepticons (bad guys, led by Megatron) from obtaining a great power that would destroy the world. In “Revenge of the Fallen,” the Decepticons are after Sam, who now has the secret to another great power source stored in his brain.
The fact that “Revenge of the Fallen” has plot holes so huge a horde of Transformers could walk through them makes me believe Michael Bay left them there on purpose, just so he could fill them with an explosion or two. Or ten.
Of course, you’ll forget how characters appear and disappear out of nowhere amidst the gunfire, metal-on-metal combat and loud destruction of cities and pyramids. As the movie’s human hero, Shia LaBeouf maintains Sam’s charisma from the first movie, even as he’s diving and dodging Decepticon attacks. Meanwhile, Sam’s girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox) does what she’s supposed to do: look hot while seductively bending over motorcycles and running at the camera in slow-motion so boys can drool over her eye-candy body.
In addition to the amplified action is the movie’s need to beat you over the head with comedy. A lot of the good humor comes from Sam’s parents (Kevin Dunn and Julie White), his paranoid college roommate Leo (Ramon Rodriguez) and the rantings of Agent Simmons (John Turturro).
Unfortunately, the movie completely misses the mark on the Autobots known as The Twins, whose characters are nothing but annoying racial stereotypes. I’m sorry, but robots whose sole purpose is to walk around and talk like they’re gangstas from “da hood” isn’t funny. Forget being offensive, they’re just plain stupid; their over-the-top attempts at generating laughs are out of place and unnecessary since every other character virtually serves as comedy relief in some fashion.
In the end, it all comes down to the real reason anyone goes to watch any Transformers movie: the amazing special effects. Bay makes sure everything about this movie is bigger than the first. The battles are massively strung together and as beautiful as you’d expect from a big-budget film.
Watching the robots transform from cars to giant killing machines never gets old.
Slow-motion is usually clichéd, but it works well in this movie because you can actually see what’s happening during the fight scenes. The blatant cheesiness that bleeds from “Revenge of the Fallen” is fun and packed with so much flash that there’s no room to care about substance; it’s too busy launching an all-out assault on your senses.