Cover your ears. Michael Bay made another movie.
Hollywood's dean of decibels kicks up summer a notch with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (PG-13), which likely will bump 2007's Transformers flick out of the top 20 grossers ever, with $319 million in the United States alone. Explosions don't need subtitles, so Bay's sci-fi extravaganza made even more overseas.
Dialogue in a Michael Bay movie can be just as tough on the ears. Mine still ooze a little if I hear one of Ben Affleck's heroic platitudes in Pearl Harbor, or a Bad Boys wisecrack. Bay does know how to fill a soundtrack, though, with sonic rock turning the screen into a video game without control pads.
As the title suggests, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is Bay's The Empire Strikes Back, the midpoint of a trilogy in which previously defeated bad guys — those gigantic Decepticons — come off the mat to even the score for Part 3, due in 2012.
Shia LaBeouf returns as Earth's teen savior Sam Witwicky, who was just getting somewhere with his crush, Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox), when Part 1 ended. They'll rally the Autobots — those are the good guys, duh — for one more cochlea-crunching showdown that'll shake your lobes.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen opens Wednesday with 12:01 a.m. screenings at select theaters. Look for a review that day at entertainment.tampabay.com and on Etc, Page 2B.
Steve Persall, Times film critic