Listen, nobody blows shit up like Michael Bay. He’s arguably the most famous action director in the world right now, if not of all time, and with good reason. He invented a style of action filmmaking that has become a cinematic language all its own, and is responsible for some of the most successful movies ever made. The man is a homunculus of Lamborghinis and pure testosterone, and might be the only person in history to have completely transformed into a meme of himself.
But there’s a genuine talent present in that shell of car parts and sunglasses. You only need to look at how many directors have tried to imitate his style with disastrous results to know that a deft hand created all those whirling low-angle shots replete with lens flares. Bay is an undeniably skilled technician, and while that might be the only aspect of filmmaking he is good at, he is very fucking good at it. Unfortunately, his extremely problematic views routinely seep into his work, so to enjoy his movies, you have to be willing to sit through a handful of extremely dated gay jokes and roll your eyes all the way into the back of your head every time he introduces a female character by parking the camera directly on her butt. Weirdly, these things seem to be the most present in his Transformers movies, a fact my mother discovered when she took my ten-year-old nephew to see one thinking it would be like the harmless cartoon I watched as a kid. You were wrong, Mom. Dead wrong.
Bay’s latest film 6 Underground, starring Ryan Reynolds as the leader of a team of vigilantes who all faked their own deaths in order to target extremely dangerous international criminals, premieres on Netflix today, and it’s a pretty big deal. With a budget of $150 million, it’s the most expensive movie ever produced by Netflix, and it looks like Bay has spent every last dime of that production money blowing shit up into the goddamn stratosphere. To celebrate the release of 6 Underground, I’ve ranked all of Bay’s previous films, beginning with the least good and building all the way up to the best good.