We were promised ‘Bayhem’: more location, more action and, bizarrely, less explosions and Revenge of the Fallen doesn’t disappoint on these counts, delivering a marked improvement on robo-duelling as well as believable robot to human interaction.
If you go to see this film expecting more than giant computer generated robots kicking nuts and bolts out of each other you were always going to be disappointed and though Director Michael Bay has done little to convert nay-sayers, there’s little more of a plot this time around to hold things in place.
Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) returns with his impossibly attractive girlfriend Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) and he’s now starting college and trying to get on with his life after disposing of evil nasty Megatron two years ago.
The Decepticons (the baddies) aren’t content to shuffle off and leave Earth be though, and have been tackling with ultra-secret taskforce NEST (which may stand for Nuclear Emergency Search Team – we aren’t told – but the important thing is it’s an alliance between the Autobots and humanity against the remaining Decepticons).
The story this time revolves around the fact that the Transformers have come to Earth before, some 19,000 years ago, and to cut a short story shorter the Fallen is the equivilent of the devil, a Prime (yes, like that Optimus guy) cast out after he decided killing innocents to obtain Energon, the races power source, was a good idea.
What follows is a highly computer generated chase movie with some comedy moments thrown in for good measure, Sam’s mum trying some ‘special’ college brownies is a particular high point, and eventually coming to a climax in the sandy lands of Egypt.
The film works. It isn’t flawless, it isn’t outstandingly excellent, but it does what it set out to do. With the summer release schedule peppered with heavy releases it lets you forget reality for a moment and embrace this strange world where toys come to life…wait a second that sounds familiar…
The returning cast all put on a good performance, save Megan Fox who rests on her laurels somewhat in her eye-candy role and resorts to a few damsel-in-distress turns. John Turturro fills out Agent Simmons, who’s fallen on hard times after Sector 7 was disbanded following the events of film one, and treads the line between action and comedy perfectly to set the tone of the final act.
Megatron seems a little emasculated by title-stealer The Fallen, and bravely runs away at the end to leave the door open for a three-quel, which despite Bay’s insistence this was written as if it was the last Transformers movie, seems inevitable, if not for a couple more years.
Already in the two years since its predecessor you can see how much the technical complexity of the robots themselves has left forwards, with fights between up to have a dozen at a time a common occurrence, one particular highlight is the Mortal-Kombat style de-spining of a cougar shaped Decepticon.
The real hero is, of course, Optimus Prime, who, keeping with the Biblical analogy here, is killed and then resurrected for the final face-off against the big nasty, while Sam and Mikaela carry on their (slightly) forced love story, takling the issue of the ‘l’ word itself, which really pales in comparison to the excitement going on all around.
Bay has surpassed himself to create a film which people are sure to enjoy if nothing else, but he wasn’t trying to make people thing or deliver a moral message, he just wanted to blow stuff up.
And, despite his initial claims, he does like no one else could.