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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Feminism. It has given the world so many things; laws on gender equality, female suffrage, bra burnings and girls in trousers. One thing that the female cause definitely has not had a hand in creating is Transformers: RotF. If you plonk your ass in front of a cinema screen to watch this, be prepared for a guy movie, a movie with gratuitous panning shots of Megan Fox, no other female characters apart from a MILFish mother and a super-hot killbot, explosions, military hardware and motherfucking bad-ass ROBOTS, dude.

As with the first film, the plot here is pretty perfunctory. Many aeons ago the Primes came to Earth wanting to harvest our sun for energy. The Primes wouldn’t wipe out humanity but one of them would, for reasons unknown, and needed to be defeated. After this had been done, the Primes killed themselves to safely hide the key to the sun-harvesting machine. In the present day, the defeated brother is back to find the key and activate the machine, which only Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) knows the location of because he touched part of the Allspark cube. Look, all you need to know is that he reactivates Megatron, and then the explosions start.

As you might expect, action is the main focus of the film, and this has been ramped up from the first outing. I cannot imagine how many hours were slaved away in front of computer screens creating the vast array of incredibly complex robots on display in this film. If you want to see big robots shooting guns, swinging swords and ripping each others' heads apart, this is the film for you. These scenes are almost beautifully realised and efficiently directed.

On the other hand, like the first outing, the film is broadly comedic, with characters that go at least some way towards realism. The best of these is LaBoeuf, who always delivers comic lines well, and who has the most realistic character, apart from the fact he is somehow shagging Megan Fox despite being a nerd. The other characters are as solid as you need them to be in a movie like this. It remains to be seen whether Megan Fox can actually act outside of her Mikaela character or is just window dressing.

However, is characterisation really what you expected when you payed your seven pounds to watch this movie? This is Michael Bay... bloody Michael Bay. You paid for explosions, action and an entire film shot at sunset or at night. You paid for hot, hot, hot girls (Megan Fox is worth the price alone) and Optimus Prime kicking ass. This is what the film delivers on, on a massive scale.

And yet... it is all somehow unsatisfying in a way that the first film wasn't. Perhaps unsatisfying is the wrong word, it's more uneven, just like the final sequence's dubious grasp of Middle-eastern geography. Before these final scenes start the film has become a victim of it's own runtime, too stretched and contrived when there aren't massive robots destroying each other. The first film avoided this fate by being likeable, but this time around too much time is spent away from the excellent LaBoeuf and too much is spent with sundry, annoying characters.

A slab of almost pure summer entertainment, perhaps the problem is that Bay just pushed it too far this time. In the end though, you can't argue with gratuitous panning shots of Megan Fox a tooled up Optimus Prime kicking it old school.

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