With the release of the 4th installment of Transfomers nearly upon us I felt it was only fitting to rank Michael Bays movies. I know most of you are likely in a state of shock right now. Michael Bay??? Why??? He sucks!!! But what if I told you Michael Bay is a rare talent, that he is one of the greatest directors in Hollywood right now… … …
At generating bucket loads of cash. He is 6th all-time on the top grossing directors list and come July he will be 4th (unless Transformers 4 tanks). The man gets a lot of hate and most of it deservedly so with some of the comments he’s made over the years but when it comes to hating on his movies I scratch my head. Sure none of his movies are great, they are just what they are, over the top action films for people to turn off their brain.
I’ll be the first to admit I enjoy a good amount of his films which is funny coming from me as some people will agree I’m a film snob. Maybe it’s the explosions or the stor… No it’s the explosions, most definitely the explosions. Anyways this column is not meant to be a defense of Michael Bay cause most likely the people doing the hating are the one’s seeing his movies and they won’t admit it. Each movie will be accompanied by its worldwide gross and Rotten Tomatoes score. So with all that said lets jump in to ranking Michael Bays movies.
10. Pain and Gain
Pain and Gain (my full review) was one Michael Bay film I did not like. The characters were all a bunch of assholes with no likable qualities. Sure it was based on a true story but that doesn’t change anything or my feelings towards it. With a leading cast of Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie and Dwayne Johnson you’d expect a bit more.
Bay also tried to add a some style to this film different from his norm. This helped the look of the film but looks don’t help story. Funny enough this movie only had one explosion in it, so I wonder if it is true. Can we really gauge the quality of a Michael Bay’s films by how many explosions they have in them? I’d have to say yes.Worldwide Box Office: $86m Rotten Tomatoes: 49%
9. Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor probably falls in the 10th spot on a lot of people’s lists. For me it just makes it to 9. By a smidgen. I mean how could it not with one of the greatest love stories ever told on film within it. All with the backdrop and spectacle of the events that took place during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
The movie featured two budding stars at the time; Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett. Throw in a beauty like Kate Beckinsale and add Cuba “What the hell happened to you?” Gooding Jr and you’re most likely going to have a pretty decent film. Not quite. The movies love triangle was rather groan inducing and a-typical. Plus this movie came a few years after Saving Private Ryan and that’s what people were hoping for. The movie does have a few redeeming qualities to it though in the form of Mr. Gooding Jr. and the attack on Pearl Harbor.Worldwide Box Office: $449m Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
8. Bad Boys II
It’s been a few years since I last saw Bad Boys II. I remember it being louder, dumber and more full of spectacle than the original. I always thought of it as curious to why Will Smith was a part of these movies. For one he’s against cursing in his music but was okay with doing a highly violent film(s) where he says plenty of expletives. Kind of hypocritical.
As for the movie, it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes and I actually remember liking it when I first saw it in theaters. Hey, what do you expect from me I was young and dumb then. I’m sure today if I were to pop it in I wouldn’t flat-out hate the movie but possibly get some enjoyment in the over-the-top action and vulgar comedy, but I’m not guaranteeing anything.Worldwide Box Office: $273m Rotten Tomatoes: 23%
7. Transfomers: Revenge of the Fallen
I’m starting to see a trend with my list. One that is trending downwards in terms of Rotten Tomatoes score and that continues on with the seventh movie on here, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. This movie was a steep drop from the first film in terms of recognizable story. It had overly childish toilet humor (and I like my toilet humor), racist robots (granted people are too sensitive these days) and Megan Fox (she’s an amazing actress…). Also lets not forget about robot heaven which apparently lets humans into it and has the ability to send them back to the living world… Yeah I don’t know, just go with it… I guess.
For all that is wrong with this movie we do also have some rewarding action sequences. Actually that’s pretty much all that is rewarding about this film. Man Michael Bay what were you and your writers thinking with this one? Robot heaven? Really? Before I go off on more of a rant with this film I think it’s wise to stop right here.Worldwide Box Office: $836m Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
6. Bad Boys
Coming in at 6th is Michael Bay’s directorial debut, Bad Boys. It featured Will Smith who was just starting his movie career and funny man (sometimes) Martin Lawrence. This movie isn’t really a recognizable Michael Bay film either. Granted it was his first so he didn’t have his established “style” yet but if I were to show this to someone who has yet seen it and did not know who directed it, chances are they would not guess Michael Bay.
Bad Boys for the most part is an enjoyable film. It has humor, some good action sequences and the story is not half bad. My issue with this film has always been the final conflict. It’s rather underwhelming which holds this back from being higher up on the list.Worldwide Box Office: $141m Rotten Tomatoes: 43%
The year was 1998 and the cinema’s were graced with not one but two films about massive asteroids heading towards earth. Those two movies are Deep Impact (the weaker of the two) and number 5 on the list, Armageddon. Looking at this films cast today you would think it has a massive amount of star power; Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Steve Buscemi, Owen Wilson and Michael Clarke Duncan. Also one of the screenwriters for this film went on to create a super popular show that involved a magical island, directed the two new Star Trek films and is now at the helm of the Star Wars franchise (Psst it’s JJ Abrams).
This movie gets some unwarranted hate. It’s a good disaster movie. One that delivers the goods in the categories that matter for a movie of this genre. Sure there is some nonsensical science going on in this film but that can all be forgiven. Lets not forget the movie did something at the end that to me at the time was unexpected and that was (Spoiler alert) kill the bulletproof Bruce Willis in heroic fashion.Worldwide Box Office: $553m Rotten Tomatoes: 40%
4. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
After all the hate the second Transformers film got Bay and his team probably figured they needed to redeem themselves with the third movie, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. To me they definitely did. The story wasn’t all over the place and the action sequences in this film are the best in the series.
However even though they made a much better film over the second one they still had some questionable things going on. For one John Turturro’s character made his third appearance and was still as annoying as ever. Then there is Megan Fox’s replacement, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and crazy enough is a much worse actress. So good job with the downgrade on all fronts in that department but yet again people don’t go see Transformers for the cardboard cutout lead actresses. No, they go for the giant robots beating each other senselessly and in that aspect it’s a good time.Worldwide Box Office: $1.1b Rotten Tomatoes: 36%
3. The Rock
In Michael Bay’s second attempt in the director’s chair he churned out what many would say is his best film. That movie is The Rock. It has the highest overall rating (top critic consensus belongs to another film) of any of his movies on Rotten Tomatoes. It starred the always enjoyable to watch Sean Connery and the man of a million memes, Nicolas Cage.
What The Rock does well is just about everything. It’s an all around good action movie. Good story, action and acting. This too like Bad Boys does not feel like a Michael Bay film since this was made before he put the spectacle of film over everything else.Worldwide Box Office: $335m Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
2. The Island
When The Island released it was seen as a box office bomb and rightfully so. It had a production budget of $126 million and surpassed that by only $36 million, clearly the studio took a huge loss on this film. For this being a summer release too that did not bode well for Mr. Bay’s track record but it also did not scare Paramount and DreamWorks from employing him as director of the Transformers franchise.
With all that said it is one of Bay’s best movies and truly underrated. It stars two talented actors in Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson and has a very good supporting cast. The action is top-notch and it has a pretty good science fiction story that questions if the benefits of cloning outweigh how unethical it is. For all that it gets and deserves the number 2 spot on this list.Worldwide Box Office: $162m Rotten Tomatoes: 40%
Coming in at number 1 on the list is Transformers. It claims the second highest overall rotten tomatoes score of his movies (has the highest top critic score at 70%). I remember being super stoked for this movie to release into theaters as I grew up with the Transformers Generation 1 cartoon. For me it did not disappoint either. Of course some people feel this movie raped them of their childhood but those are also the people who can’t accept change. To some regards it is faithful to the source material but the story and appearance of the characters had to work in a live action setting. Another thing people complain about is it featuring the humans more than the robots but they fail to realize if the movie was all about the robots the budget costs would be astronomical.
This movie does plenty of things well. It’s action set pieces are pretty awesome. I wouldn’t say they are the best in the Transformers series but it is accompanied with the best story in the series so that gives it a massive plus. The other thing is it stars The Beef before he became irritable to watch. At this point in his career he was still Even Stevens (as my brother would say). For me Transformers was a nostalgic ride that put a different and welcomed spin on those fond childhood memories.Worldwide Box Office: $709m Rotten Tomatoes: 57%