Skids and Mudflap: Are Robots From Transformers 2 Racist or Lame?
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has garnered huge box office and horrible movie reviews. To some critics, however, Transformers 2 is not just a turd in a punch bowl, it's a racist turd in a punch bowl.
Most of the criticism has focused on Skids and Mudflap, two jive-talking robots, one of whom sports a gold tooth, who many think embody all sorts of negative stereotypes about African-Americans.
For starters, the twin bots disguised as compact Chevys, constantly argue and and spew rap derived street slang. In one scene, one of the ghetto bots is forced to admit that he doesn't know how to read.
Skids and Mudflap will no doubt remind many of Jar Jar Binks, the much-loathed alien in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace who for some reason spoke in a high-pitched Caribbean accent.
The characters have been given conspicuously cartoonish, so-called black voices that indicate that minstrelsy remains as much in fashion in Hollywood as when, well, Jar Jar Binks was set loose by George Lucas.
Transformers: Rise of the Fallen director Michael Bay has defended the characters, stating that the characters are alien robots and shouldn't be thought of in terms of black or white.
"It's done in fun," he said. "I don't know if it's stereotypes - they are robots, by the way. These are the voice actors. This is kind of the direction they were taking the characters and we went with it."