Michael Bay movies have two universal commonalities: action and smoking-hot women. Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which opens in theaters everywhere this weekend, continues this great tradition with the addition of Victoria's Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Shia LaBeouf's new on-screen squeeze after Megan Fox stuck her foot in her mouth one too many times in the press. There is an incredible, utterly Bay moment in Dark of the Moon filmed in slo-mo where Huntington-Whiteley—gorgeous, still, puffy-lipped and seemingly protected in a cocoon of supermodel energy—stares out vacantly at the viewer as cars are thrown through the air and massive explosions go off behind her. God bless America.
Clearly, no one is more patriotic than Bay, so celebrate Independence Day with a look back at the leading ladies that set off fireworks in his movies.
Megan Fox in Transformers and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: Thank (or blame) Bay for unleashing the hot mess that is Megan Fox onto the world. Before Transformers, in which she plays a former juvenile car thief who gets LaBeouf's engine revving, Fox was best known as the sexy real-life girlfriend of Beverly Hills, 90210 star Brian Austin Green. Fox—whose pithy, bats**t crazy quotes have reinvigorated the state of celebrity journalism—reportedly got her walking papers from executive producer Steven Spielberg after comparing Bay to Hitler. Both of Fox's Transformers films are available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Scarlett Johansson in The Island: If you look at Scarlett Johansson's career before Bay (understated performances in Lost in Translation and Ghost World) and after (The Black Dahlia, Iron Man 2), you'll discover that The Island is what gave the actress the idea that she was born to be a bombshell. Johansson plays Jordan Two Delta—the bleached blonde, sexually naïve clone grown for organ harvest by her dying sponsor, a supermodel. Educated only to a grade school level in the clone factory, Johansson lets an innocent flirtation with a fellow clone (Ewan McGregor) blossom into an intense body-exploring adventure once the two break free of their prison to begin a new life in the outside world. The Island is available on both DVD and Blu-ray.
Kate Beckinsale in Pearl Harbor: Before Kate Beckinsale became every fanboy's fantasy as the vampire warrior woman in the Underworld movies, the British beauty played the naughty nurse Evelyn Johnson—who gives Lt. Rafe McCawley (Ben Affleck) a passing grade on his physical examination even though he has dyslexia—in Bay's attempt at a historical epic. Evelyn and Rafe play doctor with each other until Rafe is shot down and presumed dead, pushing Evelyn into the comforting arms of Rafe's best bud, Danny (Josh Hartnett). When Rafe returns he fights his pal in a bar for stealing his woman the night before the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. See? Loose lips do sink ships. Beckinsale's Bay moment is available on both DVD and Blu-ray.
Liv Tyler in Armageddon: Bay seemed to have a bit of a man crush on Affleck for a while at the turn of the century. In this sci-fi thriller about a Texas-sized asteroid hurdling toward the Earth, Affleck plays a cocky deep-sea oil driller named A.J. Frost who wants to tap into Grace Stamper (Liv Tyler), the daughter of the world's finest driller, Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis). NASA contracts Harry to advise it about asteroid-elimination options while the frazzled father tries to keep his sexy daughter away from A.J. By the end—when both Harry and A.J. are on the asteroid—Harry confesses that A.J. is the son he never had and gives his blessing for marrying his daughter before blowing the asteroid—and himself—to smithereens. This explosion of manliness is available on both DVD and Blu-ray.