'Hateful' Transformers sequel

This dreary, miserable summer of reboots and retreads hits its nadir with this hateful, inhuman spectacle.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (12A)

Director Michael Bay

Starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel and

Tyrese Gibson

145 mins

One star

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This dreary, miserable summer of reboots and retreads hits its nadir with this hateful, inhuman spectacle.

After seeing this, my memories of Terminator: Salvation suddenly take on a warm, rosy nostalgic glow.

A summer season of movies without an original thought in their heads now spawns a movie entirely made up of bits of other films.

Elements of Gremlins, Close Encounters, Cloverfield, 10,000 BC, Indiana Jones, Pearl Harbour, Terminator 3, Stargate, Predator, Armageddon, Aliens and various Bon Jovi videos are slung together, coated in an abrasive militaristic sheen and given all the heart and human insight of a rap promo.

To accurately convey here the supreme spirit of every-effort-spared with which this film has been put together, I should have just resubmitted the review of the original Transformers film with cap locks on.

For this one has all the flaws of the first one - risible acting, horrible comedy interludes, incoherent story, indecipherable dialogue - but is simply LOUDER, UGLIER and LONGER.

And this is a big, big film. It is made on such a vast, epic scale that aircraft carriers can be sunk almost as an aside.

During the opening sequence of the robots running amok in Shanghai, I prayed for this to defy expectations and be good - because ultimately why wouldn't you want to see a film about giant robots which can turn into cars smashing up cities?

Anyone can make a dull film - get two people in a room, let them speak French et voila. But yawning and checking your watch while the pyramids are being dismantled by 100ft machines in the middle of a recreation of Desert Storm is just perverse.

The movie ritually humiliates its actors (particularly Gibson in his role as Black Soldier Who Only Says Brainless Cliches) but has little regard for the dignity of its robot either.

The Transformers come in two modes - they are either noble Deep Movie Trailer Voiceover Men or Jar Jar Binks.

We could note how racist the Amos and Andy routines of the comedy sidekick robots are - but it is just swallowed up within the movie's generally reductive view of humanity.

The introductory shot of Fox is a centrefold of her bent over a motorbike in very tight shorts (that there isn't a garden hose gently showering her with water is an odd oversight). It's the only scene I liked in Transformers 2 because it was the only part of the movie where I both understood what was happening and why I should find it entertaining.

Thirty-plus years ago, a film called Star Wars introduced the idea that science fantasy could be a mainstream populist movie entertainment.

It ended with the hero having a single shot with which he could destroy a conglomeration of the entire galaxy's evil. If only the movies were like the movies.

Here we have all that is lazy, ugly and hateful about the contemporary Hollywood blockbuster gathered together in one place - just imagine being able to take them all out with a single surgical strike.