Michael Bay is known for making loud, expensive, visually arresting, utterly shallow films, but like so many directors his reputation is often a broad caricature than reality. Even Uwe Boll has made some decent films. But “Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen” is every awful thing about Bay rolled into one big dumb movie.
Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBouf) is at it again, after he discovers a piece of the Cube. He’s off to college, so of course his pet Autobot Bumblebee is upset. So is his smoking hot girlfriend (smoking hot Megan Fox), who reluctantly agrees to keep up a long distance relationship. Because, you know, she has no other options and Sam is really funny.
Meanwhile, the Autobots are told to bug off by the U.S Military, who is tired of having all these robots blowing up exotic locations in blurry melees. So Optimus Prime agrees to leave humanity to its fate. This is a bad thing, of course, because Megatron has slunk off to his progenitor’s planet to ask for reinforcement. This guy, who looks like an angry aborigine robot, is the titular Fallen mentioned in the title.
What ensues is a series of fights interspersed with broad and offensive stereotypes of robots with human-like traits. The worst are the two brothers who look and talk like urban punks, complete with gold buck teeth. Bay obviously thinks it’s not offensive if ugly racial stereotypes are dressed up as robots.
But really, the most offensive thing about this film is that it exists. It’s a blend of everything awful about big budget films, from the hot supporting actress who stands around stretching and sighing to robots speaking in slang to giant robot conflicts that are nigh-impossible to follow with the eye.
It all culminates with a death that’s not a death since it lasts about twenty minutes, a contrived reason to make the miniscule humans relevant to the plot, and Megatron slinking away to fight again another day. I could characterize the film as a very expensive cartoon episode, but that would be an insult to the Transformer cartoons that started it all.
The first installment of Transformers was big, brash, and undeniably American, fetishizing our country’s military might and love of big cars. But the second time around “Revenge of the Fallen” has nothing else to offer but more of the same.
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