Weighed down by lacklustre dialogue, lifeless acting, and intolerable length, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen might very well be the first big cinematic flop of the busy summer. It’s noisy and numbing. Michael Bay and his enthusiastic team of sound effects specialists serve up an unyielding assault on the ears and the brain. With its big-budget visual effects (some are superbly executed) and excitable tale of morphing machines, the film undoubtedly possesses box office clout. But in the end it drowns in its ambition and overdone, overwhelming action-on-steroids.
The strained attempts to wring humour from successive scenes only add to the pandemonium. Where the 2007 prequel succeeded with a decent balance of absorbing action, a respectable plot and the expected crashing, cranking, and burning, this new sequel suffers from a disturbing lack of soul and emotion. For most of the film’s 144 minutes, you are forced to endure a bombardment of metallic clashes, irritating conversations, and general chaos. Young action hero Shia LaBeouf, usually engaging and charming, is largely wasted here. There is even a detectable absence of chemistry between him and the alluring Megan Fox, who plays his love interest.
Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) has entered an exciting new chapter of his life as a college freshman but after some ancient symbols are inexplicably transcribed to his brain, he soon finds himself back at the centre of the clash between the peace-loving Autobots and the Decepticons, a rancorous and alien breed of non-biologicals out to destroy the world. It is soon left up to Sam and a supporting team comprising new friends and the military to defeat the enemy group, save lives, and restore calm.
For all its over-the-top action sequences, high octane explosions and a major showdown in the Egyptian desert (one of the longest action climaxes I’ve ever witnessed), Transformers 2 boils down to an overly energetic, overlong, chaotic and jangly metalfest. A study in noise and unremitting destruction, it lacks the requisite authentic appeal that audiences crave from summer blockbusters.