| Director Michael Bay delivers a giant sucker punch and reels in the curiosity seekers hook, line and sinker in this sequel to the 2007 box office sensation.
The bloom is off the rose with the flip side of everything that went right in the original being done wrong in this follow-up effort. This instantly forgettable popcorn flick requires that you check your brain at the door.
The sights and sounds bombard your senses into a numbing catatonic state. Anyone able to sit through this endurance contest deserves a medal. It is a special effects extravaganza with eye candy provided by Industrial Light & Magic.
The major set pieces are a series of military battles involving giant metallic alien robots and soldiers armed with heavy artillery. The superficial human characters are merely window dressing to a clash for world domination between the good Autobots and the bad Decepticons.
The acting, character development and dialogue are irrelevant, meaningless and superfluous.
The only reason to see the film is to watch massive mechanoids, composed of whirring cogs, twirling cranks and assorted industrial component parts that require lubricating oil, clanging, smashing and crashing into each other.
The movie ups the ante with 46 robots this time around (versus 14 in the first film) including Devastator whose alternate mode is several heavy construction vehicles.
The horny young male contingent will get off ogling 23-year-old Tennessee native Megan Fox who reprises her role as the brassy, hot-chick car mechanic Mikaela Banes.
She is scantily clad to best show off her gorgeous body. Her wardrobe consists of tank tops that reveal her cleavage and tight-fitting jeans or short shorts.
The camera plays on her sex appeal status alternating between come-hither poses and escapist action behind the wheel of a fast car or running away from danger with her chest heaving.
Shia LaBeouf (“Eagle Eye” and “Disturbia”) is back in the nerdy lead role of Sam Witwicky. He is off to college for just two days before he embarks on a treasure hunt for a 1,000-year-old matrix.
New characters added include his roommate Leo (Ramon Rodriguez) who believes that the Internet is pure truth and a strikingly beautiful coed Alice (Isabel Lucas) who has ulterior motives for getting Sam to let his guard down. Lucas is a close second in the sex symbol department to Fox.
Sam’s parents Ron and Judy (Kevin Dunn and Julie White) are back for comedic relief. Other returning characters are Captain Lennox (Josh Duhamel), Sergeant Epps (Tyrese Gibson) and the still obsessed former government agent Simmons (John Turturro).
The actors are there to merely fill in space between the giant robot fights and pyrotechnic displays.
The movie tries hard to be funny with non-stop jokes that never rise above a sophomoric level.
The cheesy forced romance subplot between Fox and LaBeouf seems terribly out of place when measured against the serious threat posed by the robots to total annihilation of the human race.
A corny example occurs when LaBeouf comments to Fox that “being my girlfriend is hazardous to your health.” Fox replies that “boys always change the subject when the L word (LOVE) comes up.”
The novelty, charm and goodwill generated by the original blockbuster are missing. Although the frenetic action scenes are bigger and on a larger scale, there is way too much to absorb in one sitting.
It is also more difficult to develop a rooting interest this time around. The story is cobbled together from bits and pieces of stray parts taken from other movies.
This sequel starts in 17,000 B. C. with the notion that the worlds of robots and humans have come into contact long before the events of the first movie. The movie fast forwards to the present.
The Autobots and the US military formed an alliance two years ago shortly after the conclusion of the 2007 film. Their classified strike team known as NEST is determined to wipe out any remaining stray Decepticons.
A toxic spill is merely a cover-up to the enemy bots rearing their ugly transforming heads with the threat that The Fallen shall rise again and take hate-motivated revenge. A shard from the Allspark cube instills Sam with symbolic knowledge of the ancient origins of the Transformers making him a target worth capturing by the Decepticons.
The plot becomes impenetrable due to the ridiculous helpings of unearthed mythology. The main combatants (Optimus Prime and Megatron) take turns being resurrected so they can square off in the ultimate confrontation.
The climax set in Egypt surrounded by pyramids seems to never want to end and goes on forever.
Bay has changed the cinematic landscape with his own unique brand of pyrotechnic chaos, wild excesses and confident swaggering flourishes that in combination deserve the label Bayhem.
This alien blood feud leaves no stone unturned and piles on the destruction in the wake of each succeeding war game maneuver. Everything but the kitchen sink is thrown at the screen in excessive helpings resembling a buffet meal where you stuff yourself in order to get your money’s worth.
This summer escapist fare with a running time of 147 minutes may prove harmful to your health. It took this reviewer a few days to recover from a viewing experience that turned off my cognitive thought processes.
Your hearing will be affected by the noisy decibel levels and relentless musical score. There is a lingering smell of burning rubber from the high speed pursuits engaged in by the various forms of transportation.
The giant talking robots get annoying and wear out their welcome to the point that you want to tune them out. A repeat of the MTV Award for Best Movie of 2007 won by the first film based on the Hasbro action figure line of toys seems highly unlikely. The Razzies (the polar opposite of the Oscars) instead may come a calling with multiple awards.
The IMAX version is available exclusively in Johnson County at AMC Studio 30.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"