Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen movie poster
MPAA rating: PG-13
Genre: Action/Adventure
After the Decepticons return to Earth, this time to take Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) prisoner, Optimus Prime and the Autobots team up with international armies for another battle.
Starring: Megan Fox, Shia LaBeouf, Rainn Wilson, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro
Director: Michael Bay
Running time: 2:37
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Editorial Review

With its fascist sensibility, assortment of smutty asides, illiterate gold-tooth-wearing homie robots and the hero's brainless mother, much of "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" is simply despicable. So complaining about one's physical discomfort seems petty. But given the relentless din, the Leni Riefenstahl-inspired music and the headache-inducing visuals, OSHA should probably be investigating the conditions under which human beings made this thing. Or the conditions under which they watch it.

And this is from someone who liked "Transformers." Sure, it was a clanking, clanging, rock-'em, sock-'em robot slugfest, but with a human element that was surprisingly real. Shia LaBeouf held his own alongside his 14-story co-stars, Megan Fox added fleshly decor and the whole thing was kind of funny. Although the action was huge, the feeling was intimate: For much of the film, Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) was trying to keep the existence of the enormous, shape-shifting Autobots a secret, so there was not only situational comedy -- there was also a sense that the audience was in on a well-meant conspiracy.

Not so this time. The whole wide world -- and more -- is in on the "Trans 2" experience. Or soon will be. Since the absence of the Allspark, or life force, has made the Autobots' planet uninhabitable, they've moved in with us like unwelcome relatives and have been working with the U.S. military. Why are aliens always working with the military here? Why not Venezuela?

Anyway, the Autobots and the Army are looking for rogue Decepticons, and keeping the world safe. But not for long: The ancient origins of the Autobots and evil Decepticons -- including a literally satanic mastermind known as "the Fallen" -- will come to the fore, with Earth, the sun, the pyramids and Sam's fledgling academic career at what as well might be called Nymphomaniac Supermodel University all on the line.

As with so many sequels, anything that worked in the first film is ratcheted up to overkill. To say the film is too loud or relentlessly violent misses the point: We watch movies like this for noise and violence. But what's wrong here is that there's so much swirling, relentless action, indistinct robot characterizations and over-caffeinated techies loose on the special-effects machines that the movie, in mere seconds, achieves incoherence.

-- John Anderson (June 24, 2009)

Contains sexual content, vulgarity, intense action, crude humor and drug content.