The recent series of live-action movies based on Hasbro’s famous Transformers have enthralled and enraged fans and general movie-goers alike for over a decade now. In that time, they’ve blown up all that can be blown up on multiple continents, in several oceans, on the moon, and through the fallen metallic utopia of Cybertron.
We’ve compiled the best of the best from all of the movies’ action sequences for your entertainment. If you’re a fan looking to revisit the cream of the crop or a newcomer who wants to sample the finest selection of action scenes, then this is the list for you.
10 Operation Firestorm (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen)
The finale of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen centers around a military operation at the foot of the pyramids of Giza and, as you would expect, Michael Bay blows it all to kingdom come.
There’s a tremendous amount going on the sequence from John Turturro ordering a rail gun strike on a pyramid-sized Decepticon (resulting in the immortal line “I am directly below the enemy scrotum”) to a transforming stealth bomber ripping out its own heart to allow a freshly resurrected Optimus Prime to salvage parts from his corpse. And that’s not even half of it. Expect shouting and every kind of explosion that you can imagine.
9 Highway Fight (Transformers)
The first moment that Michael Bay really showed his teeth in the Transformers franchise. The relatively short and simple fight between Optimus Prime and Bonecrusher showcased all of the goodies that modern moviemaking could throw at an idea like live-action Transformers and the results are eye-grabbing and explosive.
The short scuffle sees the heroes pursued by a group of Decepticons down a highway before Bonecrusher and Optimus Prime transform in broad daylight to brawl. The two go over the side in the middle of a spaghetti junction, falling several times before Prime debuts his new sword and shoves it straight through Bonecrusher’s face.
8 King Arthur Vs. The Saxons (Transformers: The Last Knight)
Michael Bay opens his potentially final Transformers movie in typically fiery style, with enormous catapulted fireballs emerging from behind the Paramount logo and crashing down on the battlefield of King Arthur’s last stand against a Saxon horde.
If you think that setting the scene in the 5th century would deter Bay from incorporating massive explosions every few seconds then you don’t know Michael Bay very well. Like the rest of the movie, it’s a cacophonous boom of crashing metal and manly grunting. All tied together by the arrival of a three-headed fire-breathing robot dragon to save the day at the last moment.
7 The Death of Optimus Prime (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen)
For better or worse, the forest fight between Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, and Grindor defines Michael Bay’s style in the live-action Transformers movies. To some people, it’s just visual chaos. To others, it’s oddly elegant.
The scene is mostly shot from the perspective of Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky running through the forest as the metallic giants duke it out around him, dodging explosions left and right. Prime proves why he’s so respected as a warrior as he takes on the three Decepticons alone and beats them, ripping Grindor’s face in half in the process. Megatron manages to get Prime in the end with a sneaky literal backstab, leading to his resurrection at the end of the movie.
6 The Leaning Tower of Chicago (Transformers: Dark of the Moon)
In the midst of the Decepticons’ destructive occupation of Chicago, Sam Witwicky and a small group embark on a covert mission to take out a portal that will bring the Transformer home-world of Cybertron to Earth so that the remnants of a conquered humanity can rebuild it.
To stop the Decepticons’ plans, the group have to find a vantage point to fire their one rocket at a crucial point. To do this, they have to climb up a skyscraper that’s in the midst of snapping in half. Things just get worse from there as the Decepticons speed up the structural deterioration, sending in the giant metallic worm Driller to finish the job.
5 Bumblebee Vs. Nemesis Prime (Transformers: The Last Knight)
After being turned by the evil Quintessa into an evil minion called Nemesis Prime, the evil Optimus steals Merlin’s staff (long story) and attempts to escape a giant underwater spacecraft shaped like a Celtic cross (even longer story).
As the craft begins to rise out of the water, Prime gets struck by a passing submarine; allowing his long-time friend Bumblebee to catch up with him. The two finally go toe to toe on the roof of the craft as it rises out of the water. It’s one of the most unforgettable of the Transformers series’ locations and fights, with Bumblebee’s death appearing imminent just before Prime is able to shake his brainwashing and come to his senses.
4 The Fall of Cybertron (Bumblebee)
After the increasingly overwhelming nature of Michael Bay’s take on the beloved franchise, many fans were relieved to see the 2018 spinoff Bumblebee take a simpler approach that harkened back to the original ’80s cartoon.
The classic character designs were mixed with a much brighter color palette and showcased in all their glory with an opening action scene on the warring Cybertron. We see the heroic Autobots lose control of the planet to the Decepticons and escape to find refuge on other worlds and, even if you aren’t familiar with the original cartoon, it’s a refreshing change of pace for the series.
3 The Battle of Hong Kong (Transformers: Age of Extinction)
After punching some respect into the newly freed Dinobots, Optimus Prime rides into battle with them on the streets of Hong Kong and if Optimus Prime waving a giant sword on top of a fire-breathing robotic Tyrannosaurus Rex is wrong then who on earth wants to be right?
The battle is suitably maniacal and involves an extended fight between Bumblebee and a Decepticon knock-off on top of a flying Dinobot. It’s all overshadowed, though, when the main antagonist shows up to pick up the survivors with a giant flying magnet, destroying almost all of Hong Kong’s remaining landmarks in the process.
2 The Ruins of Cybertron (Transformers: The Last Knight)
The grand finale of Bay’s swansong for the old ways of the Transformers franchise, before a semi-reboot, is fittingly bonkers. It sees the shattered ruins of Cybertron finally arriving at earth to suck its energy dry in an attempt to rebuild itself while an alliance of human soldiers and Autobots crash land onto a section of Cybertron to take out a vital control room.
The three-headed dragon from the beginning of the movie appears again to really kick things into overdrive. Not that that’s really needed with Optimus Prime decapitating six foes with a single sword swing, tactical nukes blowing sections of Cybertron into other sections and a final battle that has to be fought on a platform hurtling thousands of feet through the air in freefall.
1 The Wing-suit Jump (Transformers: Dark of the Moon)
In the sprawling warzone finale of the Decepticon takeover of Chicago, the centerpiece is the daring infiltration mission of soldiers into the city via a wing-suit jump from Osprey aircrafts. Most of them don’t make it and are taken down during the flight in. The lucky survivors are forced to jump into downtown Chicago and fly through the wreckage of half-destroyed skyscrapers with Decepticons hot on their tails.
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The construction of the scene and the special effects are top-notch but the main selling point is their blending with the actual stunt work of the teams of skydivers flying through the city themselves.