Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox wasted in too-loud 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen'

Think of the cruelest roller coaster loop-de-loop you've ever endured. Then recall the time a bully shoved you inside a clothes dryer and dropped a quarter in the slot. Top it off with memories of that New Year's Eve hunch punch that left you with bed spins and a bucket nearby.

Congratulations. You just saved yourself the price of a ticket to see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Michael Bay may eventually become the first movie director charged with assault and battery on an entire audience. The second Transformers even makes your hair hurt, it's so relentlessly loud and too proud of it. Bay's penchant for explosive action and extreme close-ups rendering it indecipherable is now officially a fetish.

At times the screen resembles a psychotic Rubik's cube, with gigantic robots shape-shifting from their cool-car aliases and smashing anything in their paths. Even more grating than the constant din of grinding metal is the sound of good actors like Shia LaBeouf and John Turturro spouting dialogue that comic books wouldn't publish.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen proves that you really can get too much of a bad thing. It's essentially the same movie shown in 2007, sans the tongue-in-cheek humor that suggested Bay was spoofing his reputation as a sonic assailant. Sorry, kids, he's serious.

Sure, there's a wisp of a new plot weaved between the booms. Those mean Decepticons that were defeated in Transformers are either hiding on Earth as metallic Gremlin spies, or hurtling toward the planet to revive Megatron and the granddaddy of all Decepticons, known as the Fallen.

Meanwhile, nerdy Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) is still an anonymous hero of the 2007 war, heading for college, where he'll have a long-distance Webcam romance with Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox). He also leaves behind Bumblebee, the trick Camaro/Autobot now behaving like Herbie the Love Bug, crying windshield washer fluid and sigh-beeping his horn.

Before leaving home, Sam discovers a shard of the life force cube that part 1 revolved around, accidentally absorbing its hieroglyphic code of Transformer knowledge. Decepticons seeking the code to resurrect their leaders begin a search-and-destroy mission with Sam in the cross hairs.

Revealing anything else about the plot would be … oh, who am I kidding? It doesn't matter who's doing what or why, as long as Bay can devise ways to get an Autobot and Decepticon within striking distance. The battles are technically impressive (what we can discern of them, at least) and Fox again lives up to her name. What else could a 12-year-old boy or a middle-aged Transformers geek ask for, except ear plugs?

Steve Persall can be reached at Persall@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8365. Read his blog, Reeling in the Years, at blogs.tampabay.com/movies.

Transformers:

Revenge of the Fallen

Grade: C-

Director: Michael Bay

Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel, Isabel Lucas, voices of Hugo Weaving, Peter Cullen, Anthony Anderson and Darius McCrary

Screenplay: Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman

Rating: PG-13; intense sci-fi action violence, profanity, crude humor, brief drug abuse

Running time: 150 minutes

Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox wasted in too-loud 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' 06/23/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 11:12pm]

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