Director Michael Bay
Starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro
Film ** Extras ***
“The explosion was so large I thought my brain was going to implode.”
That’s Michael Bay on his Revenge Of The Fallen chattrack, discussing a car-catapulting stunt going awry. But big explosions and mind implosion are the crushing impressions left by his Transformers sequel.
For all its loud, proud, supersized ‘Bayhem’, Revenge Of The Fallen has a plot so opaque, it’s like trying to decipher hieroglyphics using the Oxford English dictionary. But it’s a toy tie-in movie, you cry – it’s about fun.
Well, when fun comes this sloppy, bombastic and gratuitously long, it’s dazzle for dazzle’s sake. Not that Bay gives a damn. His two Transformers have hauled in enough lucre for him to buy South America, and he revels in his role as the prince of Hollywood brain rot.
Not steeped in Transformers lore? You’ll be grasping at straws with Fallen’s windbag exposition. It’s best not to worry about the mythology and just boggle at the technology and relentless pace of frenzied incident, as the film dispatches Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) to college, saddles him with a pointless tagalong (The Wire’s Ramon Rodriguez) and contains more resurrections than all the world’s religions combined.
Fallen is filmmaking by ADD sufferers for ADD sufferers, exerting a numbing stranglehold as it sweeps you up in its phenomenal scale, glinting hardware, gobsmacking effects and skimpily dressed Megan Fox.
She pouts for America, while LaBeouf displays admirable commitment trying to be the story’s human life raft. But Bay’s efforts to give his auto-porn epic a beating heart are hopeless – he’d struggle to hit the emotional peaks of a Saturday-morning cartoon. And in between the bewildering whirligig of junkyard-giant combat, the actors are mired in a daft sitcom, where a robot humping Fox’s leg represents the pinnacle of wit.
The disc comes stacked with featurettes, but only the commentary was ready to sample, alternating between Bay and scribes Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. The latter are left to explain the mystifying plot, while Bay delights in pointing out screw-ups by his effects teams and tells a few good stories.
Look closely at the pyramid battle and you’ll spot a T-1000 “who fights like a bitch” which a miffed Bay inserted when he found out Terminator: Salvation was planning its own giant robot set piece. He also claims he knocked down 12 trees and planted 6,000 for the death-of-Prime woodland knockout. “Being an animal lover and nature lover, it was hard to see us dynamite these trees.
We tried to pick the sicker of the batch. Anyway…” Michael Bay – not just Hollywood’s techno-lord, but a tree-hugger too.