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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.87%
Worth A Look: 10.24%
Average: 7.87%
Pretty Bad: 17.32%
Total Crap56.69%

7 reviews, 85 user ratings

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
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by brianorndorf

"This is the last time I trust Michael Bay"
1 stars

In 1995, director Michael Bay, untested and hungry, helmed his first feature, the action comedy “Bad Boys.” It was a lean, stylish production desperate to please. In 2003, after years fattening himself on blockbuster box office returns and industry deification, Bay directed “Bad Boys II,” and it was a vast facial blast of overconfident overkill -- a joyless, humorless, bloated carcass of an event movie. After the domestic financial crumbling of his 2005 picture, “The Island,” Bay was again in a difficult position where he needed to prove his worth. Out of the ashes came “Transformers.” While hardly a mid-budget, no-expectation gamble like the original “Bad Boys,” the film nevertheless relied on Bay’s capacity to temper his proclivity for grotesque visual disorder, putting the needs of sci-fi adventure and crowd-pleasing theatrics above his diseased lust for claustrophobic, hyper-edited shenanigans. The semi-minimalist (for Bay) effort was rewarded with over 700 million dollars in worldwide box office returns. This leads up to the sequel, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” and, my dear readers, it’s “Bad Boys II” all over again. Nothing kills the euphoric buzz of exceptionally articulated carefree mindlessness quite like a newly emboldened Michael Bay.

Now off to college, Sam (Shia LeBeouf) has discovered a shard of the AllSpark in his old clothes, which, upon touch, imprints the skittish young man with a series of mystifying symbols that he can’t get out of his head. Coming to his aid are the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen), who have joined forces with the U.S. military to find and destroy errant Decepticons. Sam’s path leads to a secret history of the Transformers on Earth thousands of years old, revealing the Dynasty of the Primes, and its power mad defector, The Fallen (Tony Todd). When Prime is sidelined by a reborn Megatron (Hugo Weaving), it’s up to Sam, girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox), former Sector Seven employee Simmons (John Turturro), roommate Leo (Ramon Rodriguez, the movie’s most egregious casting mistake), and old military friends (Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson) to team up and thwart The Fallen’s plan to reclaim his throne and steal the Energon-producing power of the Sun from Earth through the use of the prized Matrix of Leadership key.

Weary and bruised, but smiling, I came out of “Transformers” flabbergasted over how Bay could manage to muzzle himself to such a degree that his giant robot war movie felt pleasurable, not assaultive. He turned an impossible live-action proposition into a swell bit of explosive escapism, noticeably keeping the odious Bayisms in play throughout the film, but dialing down his habits just enough to appreciate a breath of fresh air. “Revenge of the Fallen” sets out to destroy that phenomenal progress. Cocksure about what audiences demand from a “Transformers” picture, Bay drops any tinge of restraint like a bad habit and lurches forward into his old stomping grounds of excess and idiocy. Invention, or at least detectable visual moderation, has been punted out of the insufferable “Revenge” equation. This one is strictly dedicated to Bay’s ego.

“Transformers” was certainly no delicate art film, but there was a charitable feeling of the unexpected layered over a 140-minute-long running time that was stimulating, a sensation immediately swollen tenfold for any fan of the mid-80’s Hasbro toy line. “Revenge” reduces the widescreen awe to a barely audible squeak, placing greater emphasis on comedy. Yes, comedy. For reasons that completely escape my mental perimeter, Bay and his writers have decided that, while we all go to these pictures for the enormous robot fights, we stay for the laughs. This leaves the dead space between action beats reserved for rear nudity from Turturro, “twin” jive-talkin’ Autobots Mudflap and Skids (triggering an uncomfortable Jar-Jaresque racial stereotyping alarm), a reveal of testicles on the Constructicon behemoth Devastator, extended time with Sam’s stridently unfunny parents Judy (Julie White) and Ron (Kevin Dunn), Decepticon spy Wheelie and his leg-humping desires, a Rainn Wilson cameo, and a stuffy GWB-age government official caricature tossed in to challenge the allegiance between human and Autobot. If you’re not laughing by now, I’m with you. Bay is persistent about making jokes the focal point of the show, often abandoning the majesty of the concept to gather cheap laughs. It’s a crime. “Transformers” had its fun and a fair share of dud gags, but the stupidity is cranked here beyond all practical intent.

When the Autobots and Decepticons are permitted their swirly, slashy moments of private-property-trashing combat, “Revenge” stages the metallic crunch suitably, using the addition of new Transformer faces to repaint the violence. There could be an entire movie made from Optimus Prime and his soldiering ways (Cullen is a masterful voice actor), but “Revenge” never chases the concept. Instead, the screenplay is littered with needlessly complex narrative detours, leading to the useless introduction of The Fallen character. With plenty of gas in the tank left to fuel the antagonistic Megatron/Starscream relationship, not to mention the endearing protector pairing of Sam and Bumblebee, it comes across as foolish for Bay to introduce a plethora of new faces when the old faces still retain plenty of potential for superb screen conflict and bonding. But this is a film that thinks two male dogs humping each other is comic gold, making it clear to me that perhaps Bay doesn’t care much about juicy intergalactic, shape-shifting interaction, but more about the potential marketing tie-ins that breast feed his bank accounts.

I write about this film like it personally insulted my mother, yet I can’t help but feel totally deflated by the filmmaking apathy of “Revenge.” The feature is Bay trudging through his hoary, heavily rehearsed motions of explosions upon explosions; reducing fantastical globetrotting plotting to a repetitive yawn; fetishizing military weaponry, personnel, and casualty with porn-like visual perfectionism; objectifying women like there’s no tomorrow, including a perpetually moist Megan Fox (playing a character with apparent access to lip gloss and push-up bras in the desert wilds of Egypt) and Isabel Lucas, here poorly portraying a human Decepticon Pretender; and encouraging Shia LeBeouf to spaz it up to the nth degree (his specialty). It’s takes 150 minutes (it’ll feel like a long weekend, guaranteed) for “Revenge” to organize its hilariously complicated storyline, with at least 149 minutes devoted to anesthetizing, tongue-twisting exposition. It’s a lot of needless baggage for a “Transformers” film to clutch, and it all crumbles into a numbing mush about halfway through, when it’s clear Michael Bay isn’t going to chip in the proper effort to keep this once promising franchise headed in a suitably dignified and fist-pumpingly thrilling direction.

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originally posted: 06/26/09 23:07:25
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User Comments

1/21/12 Chris Not a fan of parts of it and it has low points but still has some ok action scenes 3 stars
11/21/11 cody a good sequel with great effects , good actions scenes, and good directing 4 stars
10/19/11 Magic To date, the worst movie I've seen in a theater. And I've seen Epic Movie in a theater. 1 stars
10/14/11 ashley rexrode its okay but megan fox cant act 3 stars
7/26/11 Meep A mixture of awesome shit and just plain shit 3 stars
5/26/11 chris c Stabbing my eyes out would be less painful to watch, fire Michael Bay 1 stars
5/08/11 MOJOJO Somehow a worse film than the first Transformers. Quite an accomplishment! 1 stars
5/15/10 mr.mike While pretty much non-stop action , it goes on far too long. 3.5 stars. 3 stars
4/13/10 Jeff Wilder A cheap amusement park ride disguised as a movie 1 stars
3/04/10 dude horrible 1 stars
1/22/10 Corey Weaver A film that thinks talking down to the audience is a good thing. 1 stars
12/27/09 randy todger bay is a hack.editing is piss poor.give big budget movies to talented directors 1 stars
11/12/09 cr a pretty good sequel , with lots of action and laughs, but to much language man. but cool 3 stars
10/26/09 Mr.Carrot66 Besides the fact that some are only there to fill the politically correct quotas but seem t 5 stars
10/25/09 Roy100 They put their hands in to the crystals and Ah'len amazes Trip by telling him that his favo 5 stars
10/25/09 Wolf45 This narration suggests that Veronica is explicitly speaking to an audience within the stor 3 stars
10/25/09 Koitus Wow, was this BAD... Two passable action scenes and Megan in leather does NOT make a movie 1 stars
10/24/09 SouthWind59 The definition of a stable model was generalized to programs with choice rules. , <a href=" 4 stars
10/24/09 BadGirl21 That's exactly the strategy which the party successfully followed in the local elections - 2 stars
10/23/09 Maxx68 For it clearly matters for its own sake. , 2 stars
10/23/09 JXL10 Oh but we already had a clue about the power of Africa to sanitize a reputation or a cause. 3 stars
10/23/09 BadGirl72 Institute of Museum and Library Services. , 2 stars
10/21/09 Felix Why do I get the feeling that nearly all the five-star rates are the same people?? PATHETIC 1 stars
9/25/09 george webster What a jumbled mess 2 stars
9/12/09 Sugarfoot So awful...I barely know where to start. 1 stars
8/03/09 David A. Two hours listening to robots grunt and groan--how bad can it get? 1 stars
7/26/09 arn magnusson i felt dizzy watching this on iMAX 1 stars
7/23/09 michael mann simply awful 1 stars
7/22/09 WTF? Gumby, you're a dumbass there are way better movies adapted from a cartoon you dumb cunt 1 stars
7/22/09 Gummby3 A+. You're viewing a movie adaptated from a cartoon. Expecting Shakespeare? 5 stars
7/21/09 Wow, Just Wow Wow.......I simply cannot understand why people like this movie. I simply cannot understand 1 stars
7/19/09 Stevo I never fall asleep at the cinema. Until I saw this film. Why? BECAUSE IT'S SHIT. 1 stars
7/18/09 optimus prime ilike you bumblebee 5 stars
7/18/09 farah hasyeena it great because many adventure and funny 5 stars
7/18/09 farah natasya its is awesome .itsi so interesting.the optumus prime and the bumblebee is so cute. 5 stars
7/15/09 Abhishek Chakraborty What a betrayal of expecations from the first film. fixed MTV style action camera though 1 stars
7/14/09 faiche13 Not UNentertaining at all - but somewhat insulting to one's intelligence. 3 stars
7/13/09 austin wertman okay, i loved the first movie, but i hated this one 1 stars
7/13/09 TrekFan Michael Bay is to JJ Abrams what Uwe Boll is to Francis Ford Coppola 2 stars
7/12/09 gc Yeah, dogs humping and robot balls are SOOO funny, definately put that in the script 2 stars
7/10/09 whitelaw This is the first movie that made me want to walk out of the theater, it's THAT bad! 1 stars
7/09/09 Special K Look, if you stop paying to see shitty movies, maybe they'll stop making shitty movies. 1 stars
7/06/09 The Grinch I didn't think it could get worse than the original. Guess Bay thought that was a dare. 1 stars
7/06/09 Oscar G Yeah It's not Gandhi, but escapist fun does not mean braindead. 2 stars
7/04/09 Rio This is what happens when Michael Bay's brain takes a dump. 1 stars
7/04/09 roger federer worst sequel ever. Decapitate Michael Bay 1 stars
7/01/09 pantera this is the worst blockbuster sequel ever made 1 stars
6/30/09 Crispy I hated this movie, because I have a brain. 1 stars
6/30/09 MEGATRON fantastic pornographic robotic sequences.. LOOOOVVVEEE it man!! 5 stars
6/30/09 Real-person reviewer This is not meant to be a meaningful movie like "Ghandi", but pure escapist fun, so enjoy!! 4 stars
6/30/09 GrandMaster T You get given $150mil to make a movie about transforming robots. How do you f*ck this up? 1 stars
6/30/09 Kent I won't argue with everyone's plot criticisms-- the visual effects were impressive, though. 4 stars
6/30/09 MVC its an 80's animated episode turned into a 2009 experience, enjoy it for what it is! 4 stars
6/30/09 Fruit Loops Such a BAD movie. I wish I had read reviews before I went to see it 1 stars
6/30/09 BoyInTheDesignerBubble stereotypes are hillarious. God save us!! This movie was trash. 1 stars
6/30/09 Luisa monotonous loud action became annoying; ran too long too 2 stars
6/29/09 alan good 4 stars
6/29/09 Used39 Eh... entertaining enough. Pretty stupid, but enjoyable. 2 stars
6/29/09 Tom Servo 'the action in this one was more intense than the 1st'-yeah so was the boredom 1 stars
6/29/09 Monty A True sign of the end times. 1 stars
6/28/09 god am anyone who liked this should be executed promptly - seriously. 1 stars
6/27/09 gandalf worst movie i have ever seen 5 stars
6/27/09 Michael Bay's Soul ROBOT TESTICLES R FUNNY! This movie is not. 1 stars
6/27/09 Brock Sampson It will be fun watching the illiterate fanboys defend this garbage. Insultingly bad movie. 1 stars
6/27/09 Dave if I could give this movie negative stars I would. 1 stars
6/27/09 pran absolute crap, cant believe a piece of art can be this bad. its a disgrace to human rac 1 stars
6/27/09 Jack From Jaws to this? Spielberg should take his money as exec prod. and go into hiding. 1 stars
6/26/09 Steve Michaud Dear God, is this what summer entertainment has come to? 1 stars
6/26/09 KingNeutron 4.5 / 5 *s - the action in this one was more intense than the 1st 4 stars
6/26/09 JR I feel sorry for those who actually enjoyed watching this POS. 1 stars
6/26/09 Aaron I'm not a fanboy, but I did enjoy the hell out of this. 4 stars
6/26/09 George Critics are so full of themselves. See the movie an judge for yourself people. 5 stars
6/25/09 TB I was sent to review this film for on-air, and walked out. IT'S THAT BAD. 1 stars
6/25/09 Craig Ranapia I didn't much like this film, but the experience was nothing like being raped. 3 stars
6/25/09 Maven Brick headed stupidity mixed with racism! Another 1-2 punch from Michael Bay! 1 stars
6/25/09 Pato This is entertainment people, not a doctoral thesis, it was fun!! Critics suck!! 4 stars
6/25/09 Brad Schroeder If your over 25 and thought this movie was good i feel sorry for you 1 stars
6/25/09 Kevin Meyer I thought the film was better than the first, and easily his best, most epic film yet. 5 stars
6/25/09 Viral Hey, fuck you. How can you say anything released this year was worse than Dragonball. 4 stars
6/25/09 V8Thrasher i stopped taking this review seriously once i saw how much he hated Bay. Prejudice he is. 4 stars
6/25/09 Anthony An honest review, but I think 98 percent of normal people disagree. 4 stars
6/24/09 Darkstar Just remember, it's Michael Bay not William Shakespeare. I didn't think it sucked. 4 stars
6/24/09 Daniel Kelly A massive annoyance, cool CGI but everything else is sub par 2 stars
6/24/09 Michael Yeah, I can admit too that I like "The Rock" and "Armageddon". 3 stars
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  24-Jun-2009 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Oct-2009


  DVD: 20-Oct-2009

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