Directed by: Michael Bay (Transformers)
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Kevin Dunn
Michael Bay’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen may not be the worst movie ever made, but with its 150-minute running time, it very likely is the most obnoxious. And what do you get for frittering away two-and-a-half hours of your life on it? Well, let’s see. You get a giant robot with testicles (“I’m right beneath the enemy’s scrotum”), a robot with an erection, a robot that farts flames, gay-dog sex, no less than three arbitrary slo-mo boob-bounce shots of Megan Fox running, John Turturro’s naked butt, a small horny robot that tries to marry Megan Fox’s leg, endless cheesecake shots of Megan Fox with her backside in the air, and a pair of jive-talking ghettobots (one with a gold tooth). And it’s all wrapped in Spielbergian dysfunctional suburban-family humor, while Shia LaBeouf continues to demonstrate that he’s a few acting lessons Shia drama degree.
I thought the first Transformers movie was bad, but this takes bad to new levels. I could almost be convinced that Bay has made a wicked satire on the very type of film this is. That the amassed asininity—the pointless swirling camerawork, the ridiculous pandering to a 14-year-old’s notion of sex, the bad jokes, the general air of smarminess etc.—is a gag being played on the film’s target audience is not beyond the realm of possibility. Well, it wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility if anyone other than Michael Bay had made the damned thing. This, after all, is the man who gave us rats that copulated on cue in Bad Boys II back in 2003. The intervening six years have not been ones in which he’s refined his sophistication. The sad fact is that even if this movie were a deliberate joke, it wouldn’t be any less repellent or criminally stupid.
To this we may add the fact that the movie’s supposed raison d’être lies in watching giant robots beating the crap out of each other. Oh, sure, there’s something that vaguely passes for a largely incoherent plot about the Decepticons (those are the bad robots) turning on some device that will eat our sun, but it doesn’t matter much. The real draw—apart from the utterly bizarre notion that there are millions of folks who want to see a movie based on a toy from their childhood—is robots fighting and causing property damage. Fine. But Bay and company can’t even get that right. The action scenes are a jumbled mess of incomprehensible “stuff happening” that we’re supposed to accept as exciting for no reason other than the fact that stuff is happening. You can rarely tell exactly what stuff is happening because it’s all shot in close with Bay’s peripatetic-cam and chopped into small pieces. Scenes in which you can tell which robot is doing what to which other robot are so rare that they appear to have made it into the movie by mistake.
What we have here is the cinematic equivalent of a drunk relative at a family function. He won’t shut up and appears to be completely oblivious to the fact that he’s being offensive. That sums up the movie—and Bay’s Neanderthal career. Everything is big, loud and dumb to a spectacular degree. More appalling still is the fact that Bay excuses this crapfest by saying he did this and that “for the kids.” This, in fact, is his justification for the racial-stereotype-bots. Great. In the bargain, he’s giving children black comic-relief robots that sound like Jimmy Walker on an off day and are portrayed as illiterate (“Uh, we don’t do much readin’”). The world was crying out for this, I’m sure.
Undoubtedly, I will hear from readers who don’t care about any of this as long as “things blow up neat,” and I suppose that’s who this overstuffed mass of a moronic movie is designed for. On that level, I guess you could say it’s successful, but it strikes me as indefensible in every other possible regard. In a fair world, I’d be able to rate this monstrosity a negative five stars, but I have to settle for the half-star, since that’s as low as we go. Unfortunately, Bay can go much lower. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material.