The original ‘Superman’ film had the tagline: "You WILL believe a man can fly." In 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen', Michael Bay’s sequel to the 2007 hit, you will believe robots can really kick each other’s ass. Bay obviously listened to the internet fanaticism and critiques which said there wasn’t enough robot action in his original ‘Transformers’ and that the Autobots didn’t turn up until the second reel.
Now, from the very first moments, there’s robot Kung Fu in a bombastic opening sequence set in Shanghai. The whole city is almost annihilated by what can only be described as a unicycle Decepticon who warns, before Optimus finishes him off, that bigger, badder things are on the way: "The Fallen is coming."
From here on out the movie moves at a frantic and frenetic pace, introducing more robots than Hasbro could shake a toy at. In total, there are over 42 robots from both sides fighting it out for the loudest explosion, accompanied by Bay’s belter of a soundtrack. And therein lies the rub.
Even though LaBeouf has lots more to do (real-life broken hand or no) and impresses with his acting skills and the parents make a welcome, funny yet somewhat OTT return, there’s simply far too much going on. Too much story, too many subplots, explosions, wisecracks and unfocused fight scenes. The story, concentrating once again on the Allspark plus a new fangled Cybertron gizmo, The Matrix of Leadership, and a not-so-spooky foe in The Fallen, confuses and draws out the running time, which could have been cut by 30 minutes.
There are some amazing set pieces, especially when Optimus takes on three Decepticons at once in a forest. A fluid and dare I say realistic action sequence that should nab ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) an Oscar this time around.
Of course, this is perfect summer blockbuster fodder and the first 90 minutes prove that. Plus LaBeouf has grown into the likeable boy-next-door-turns-hero type as seen in his evolution from ‘Disturbia’ to ‘Transformers’ and no doubt in the upcoming ‘Wall Street’ sequel, 'Money Never Sleeps'. Plus there's more from the favourite robot characters spearheaded by Bumble Bee and Peter Cullen's trustworthy tones of Optimus. However, even more new robots and characters are introduced as the action moves quite quickly, with little or no reason, to Egypt. The climax takes ages to get going and once it does it's difficult to work out who's who and therefore who to root for.
If I knew that being chased by alien robots would automatically result in an on demand wardrobe change and make-up touch-up, I would have got Dusty Bin to turn on me years ago. It's obvious what Fox’s role in all this is, her name being an indicator. If Wonder Woman was out of reach for a female role model, there are numerous Diana Prince type girls Bay could have chosen from. Maybe next time.
Bay does deliver his usual style of pyrotechnics, in Dolby testing sound, but one feels that instead of being like an actual kid in a toy store, he could have delivered in a shorter time and tighter story. Sometimes more is less.