Review: “Transformers: ROTF”

Unless you have been mourning the loss of our King that hard, there are three things that you know about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. First, you know that it is the sequel to 2007’s mega (pun intended) successful Transformers (which was based on the popular 1980s toy franchise about robots that can “transform” into cars, planes, guns, etc.). Second, you know that Megan Fox is in it. And lastly, you have heard about the infamous “Sambots.” More on that later. What you may not know is that the film is actually good. It’s really good, in fact… as long as you’re looking to see a mindless, big-budget, action extravaganza. And given all that’s going on in the real world, who isn’t?

Transformers: ROTF as it will be heretofore referred picks up two years after its predecessor left off. Our reluctant hero Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is hoping to regain some normalcy in life by heading to college but as he’s packing to head east to school, a shard of the all-important All-Spark falls out of his clothes and turns him into a human map… but to what? Meanwhile, the Autobots have teamed with the U.S. military to find and fight the remaining Deceptions who are plotting… but plotting what? As you can imagine, plot is not the strong suit of this movie and I don’t want to give what little of it that exists away in this review but let’s just say it all ends up with an all-out, knockdown, drag out battle between Autobots, Decepticons (new and old) and humans in the deserts of Egypt.

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As with any big popcorn flick, the acting takes a back seat to all the CGI but there are a few bright spots. LaBeouf continues to impress both by giving a lot of emotion to a pretty one-dimensional character and doing many of the stunts with his hand in a cast. That’s really giving to your craft. Also, mom and pop Witwicky (played by Julie White and Kevin Dunn) are hilarious, particularly when moms Witwicky gets her hands on a “green” brownie on campus. Hell, I even liked Tyrese in this and he and I aren’t the best of friends. The few line he had were both funny and not that cartoonish. And then there’s Megan Fox. I can’t say whether or not Fox gives a good performance here or not because… look at her for God’s sake. I don’t remember half of what she said.

Now about the already infamous “Sambots” aka Mudflap and Skids – I get the fact that this eerily reminiscent of the whole Jar Jar Binks controversy of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. They are pretty stereotypical portrayals of African-Americans but they aren’t the only stereotypes in the movie. There’s a tiny Decepticon named Wheels that can be best likened to Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny and a Muslim butcher in a kosher deli of all places that also seems out of sorts. That said, as a ‘70s baby who grew up on ‘80s cartoons that were rife with offensive stereotypes, I just don’t see how it’s any different. Not to mention, they even mention President Obama’s name in the movie. So, there’s totally balance.

Overall, you could do a lot worse with $10.50 and 2 and a half hours in the dark (G.I. Joe, I am looking at you). Transformers: ROTF had all the bang, boom and boobs of any great summer action flick.

I recommend it.

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