Breaking Review: Transformers 2

Michael Bay will not be stopped. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen opens Weds. at the Cinerama and other theaters; the sequel again stars Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox, plus all those damn robots. Our Robert Wilonsky has seen the movie, and here's his short take:

Michael Bay's 2007 Transformers was a mostly capable commercial for Hasbro toys and Michael Bay's previous films, from which most of the iconography was lifted as the man continues to pay homage to his favorite filmmaker. It also offered Bay at his most surprisingly reflective and unexpectedly restrained--the domestic scenes involving Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and his parents (Kevin Dunn and Julie White) felt particularly sincere--and also his most ingenious, as he merged man and machine in beautifully choreographed fight sequences to get us wondering, "How'd he do that?" Well, he's done it again--it, and nothing more--and so the trick no longer dazzles. It bores. Which isn't to suggest that Bay's not entirely into it--there are scant moments in this, um, story about a matrix keymajiggy that unlocks the sun-killing whoziwhatsis when he seems to be paying attention, such as a sequence during which a resurrected Megatron (hoo-boy) kidnaps Sam and fills the kid's orifices with insect-like Decepticons who slither around his innards for a look-see. Bay's in touch with his inner Cronenberg during this lone, profoundly isolated moment, the one scene during which you can actually tell what's happening--and to whom, because he lets the gross-out speak for itself. But why speak when you can SCREAM for almost two and a half hours? (PG-13, 147 minutes) ROBERT WILONSKY

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