Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Better action, worse storyline

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We played with Transformers as kids and have a considerable appetite for anything automotive, making the second installment of the Transformers film franchise a must watch in an otherwise uninspiring summer blockbuster season. While we didn't dare hope for a compelling story line, we were pretty sure Director Michael Bay wouldn't let us down with regards to special effects. We hit the theater to see if Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen lived up to the considerable hype, and basically got exactly what we expected. Hit the jump to check out our brief review.

As you've undoubtedly already seen from teaser promos posted here on Autoblog, the theme of TF2 is 'Sam goes to college and freaks out because he sees symbols." Then a series of battles ensue with a bunch of computer-generated violence. If you go to TF2 expecting great acting and a riveting plot, then you walked into the wrong theater. The script is paper-thin, but there are still plenty of laughs, especially at the expense of Sam's parents, who are more prominent characters this time around, and Sam's quirky college roommate. He whines a lot, but he also tazes himself in the testicles. That's high brow stuff, right there.

Compared to the first Transformers, TF2 has more action, better fighting sequences and an even hotter, more mature-looking version of Megan Fox. Unfortunately, though, there is also considerably less of the Transformers masquerading themselves in car form. The beginning scene featured the intriguing-looking Corvette concept as it took on (and took apart) a sinister yet great looking Audi R8. New cars in the movie include a major role for the Chevy Beat and Trax concepts, along with three new custom-built Acree motorcycles that appeared to be useless in most battle scenes. There was also a purple Chevy Volt, though its screen time was extremely limited. We did get to see plenty more of the Bumblebee Camaro, which continues to look amazing in spite of the fact that the car is already in production and no longer fresh and new.

For most of the movie, though, the Transformer cat was out of the bag, and the monstrous machines didn't have to hide from humans in plain sight. That means a lot of time in robot-form, which was OK with us. The real treat is the amazing amount of action and excitement packed into this 2.5-hour movie. While the visual appeal of the computer-generated effects was only slightly elevated versus the first Transformers, the robot-on-robot combat has been vastly improved.

Optimus Prime is flat-out brutal in his fighting scenes, taking out scores of Decepticons each time he gets into a scuffle. Bumblebee also has a great fight scene later on in the flick, but nothing compared to the two action sequences featuring the big Semi. The other Autobots, however, had little game, and their weapons appeared to have little effect on the bad guys.

Chances are, if you played with Transformers as a kid and you've got a healthy appetite for action flicks, you're going to love Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. If you like to mix in a little story line with your high budget special effects, then you should probably wait until it comes out on DVD. If you're giddy over the prospect of two and a half hours of intense action and special effects, though there is no place like the big screen to watch TF2.

Reasons to watch:
• Even better action than TF1
• Optimus Prime is a far bigger badass this time around
• Surprise appearance of an SR-71 Blackbird Transformer
• Lots of "hump" humor featuring dog on dog and robot on Megan Fox's leg (childish humor, but funny)
• Megan Fox running in slow motion

Reasons to skip out:

• Very little car screen time
• The story line is just about zero
• Two and a half hours is way too long for this type of movie

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