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TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN (director: Michael Bay; screenwriters: Ehren Kruger/Roberto Orci/Alex Kurtzman/based on Hasbro’s Transformers action figures; cinematographer: Ben Seresin; editor: Roger Barton/Paul Rubell/Joel Negron/Thomas Muldoon; music: Steve Jablonsky; cast: Shia LaBeouf (Sam Witwicky), Megan Fox (Mikaela Banes), Isabel Lucas (Alice), Josh Duhamel (Major Lennox), Tyrese Gibson (U.S.A.F. Master Sgt. Epps), John Turturro (Simmons), Kevin Dunn (Ron Witwicky), Julie White (Judy Witwicky), John Benjamin Hickey (Galloway), Ramon Rodriguez (Leo), Rainn Wilson (Professor Colan)–with the voices of: Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime), Hugo Weaving (Megatron), Tom Kenny (Wheelie; Skids), Reno Wilson (Mudflap), Tony Todd (the Fallen); Runtime: 150; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Don Murphy/Tom DeSanto/Lorenzo di Bonaventura/Ian Bryce; DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures; 2009)
“A bad film that seems like a nightmare because it is one.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This is hack filmmaker Michael Bay’s (“Pearl Harbor”/”Armageddon”/”The Rock”) overlong, too loud and absurd sequel to 2007’s blockbuster commercial success “Transformers” (that abomination took in $700 million). “Revenge” is a bad film that seems like a nightmare because it is one. Writers Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman deliver a tedious screenplay based on Hasbro’s Transformers action figures, that’s geared to ten-year-olds who still play with toys, young men who still play with toys, testosterone-driven young men who haven’t grown up, frustrated nerds who drool over the centerfold sexiness of Megan Fox, the usual fanboys and ignoramuses who foolishly think war is cool. It’s a film that relies entirely on special effects (some $200 million worth) to give the viewer an action-packed roller coaster ride. The dialogue is incomprehensible, the human acting is more robotic than the machines and the story is more ludicrous than any story has a right to be. In other words, it’s a typical Michael Bay pic. If all that wasn’t bad enough, there’s Shia LaBeouf, a one-dimensional actor who never learned the art of acting, who screams about something or other whenever he’s on and is our designated hero to save the world.

The nerdy college-bound Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) must leave behind his nitwit overprotective parents (Kevin Dunn, Julie White) and hottie mechanic girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox), who we first see leaning over a bike in her tank top and tight shorts and showing us her fine butt (now that’s about as good as the acting gets in this pic). On his one day in the east coast college, the sex-crazed coed Alice (Isabel Lucas) gives Sam a memorable tongue job. But just as Sam is about to settle into attending classes, Decepticon forces return to Earth on a mission to take Sam as a prisoner because the teenager learned the truth about the ancient origins of the Transformers.

Joining the mission to protect humankind is Optimus Prime (voice of Peter Cullen), leader of the Autobots, who forms an alliance with the Feds for international armies to take part in a second epic battle. Also there’s some nonsense about a yellow Camaro that transforms into Sam’s robot named Bumblebee, acting as a guardian angel in emergencies. Meanwhile the Decepticons, led by Megatron (voice of Hugo Weaving) and The Fallen, try to destroy the world.

It leads to a chase that winds up in the Egyptian desert, with the foursome of Sam, Megan, Leo (Ramon Rodriguez) and Simmons (John Turturro). Leo is Sam’s obnoxious nerdy dorm roommate who tags along, while Simmons is the disgraced ex-Sector 7 government agent now working in his mom’s deli before recruited by Sam. Also in the desert are the illiterate babbling twins, Skids (Tom Kenny) and Mudflap (Reno Wilson), who are particularly offensive as the racially stereotyped good guy Autobots–now working for the government. Both the saviors and destroyers of the world, search in the desert for a buried treasure: an ancient matrix that will give life back to the alien Optimus Prime.

It seems to hardly matter that there’s an absence of narrative logic and the storyline is infantile, it all boils down to some fights with giant robots, metal clanking, deafening explosions and the fiery climactic desert conflict, in which the entire Valley of the Kings is destroyed–which include the pyramids. A truly disposable film that manages to vulgarize or destroy everything it touches.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”