There are bigger Michael Bay explosions (like when he blew up all of Paris in Armageddon) but this is his best film (yes it is) and this is his most conflicted blowing-up of stuff.
Nic Cage’s hero's has done all the heroic stuff he needed to do in order to not be exploded, but the planes don't quite get the order on time...
Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (2003)
As nuclear apocalypses go, this isn't a patch on the gleefully desolate end of Dr Strangelove, but its rug-pulling context gives it some real impact.
In a philosophical about-face from the earlier Terminator films, John Connor is lead by Arnie's T-800 not to victory, but to safety, from the inevitable end of the world.
The stream-crossing climax of the comedy blockbuster that bust way more blocks than it really had any right too.
funny - with the ultimate form of humanity's destruction, as chosen by Ray Stanz, being the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man - but it also kicks major explosion ass, shearing the top off a beautifully gothic New York skyscraper.
"Watch out, Arnie! There's someone beh-
Oh no, it's ok. You got them all, by just standing in the middle of a field firing a gun too heavy for other men to carry..."
This is how shit got done in the '80s - one man, a set of nuclear biceps, a box of grenades and a grab-bag of one-liners. Essentially, Rambo without the helicopter.
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008)
Noone's arguing that this scene isn't stupid like a drunk dog, or that it didn't do irreparable damage to what should have been one of Hollywood's greatest comebacks.
But watch it in isolation and it's impossible to argue that it isn't well put together - the eerie model families, the frantic countdown, the orange in the doorway.
It's brilliant. We just wish it didn't exist.
You may remember Stealth as that emotionless box of whooshing sounds and CG model aeroplanes released a few years ago.
What you may not remember is that among all the numbing ballbaggery there was this undeniably awesome sequence of stuff getting blown the hell up, including a low-flying stealth bomber and loads of fire.
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
Director Renny Harlin is often written off as a poor man's Michael Bay.
The truth is he's more like a rich man's Jan De Bont, as this equally underrated amnesiac spy actioner shows.
This is the climactic set-piece - a bridge, a helicopter (naturally) and a really, really big explosion.(from 06.25)
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
Not so much ‘an explosion’ as ‘a series of explosions’.
The best bit is that it just keeps going, like a magic birthday candle that won’t stay out, except with more fatalities.
Die Hard 2 (1990)
There are loads of ace bangs in the Die Hard series (the Nakatomi Plaza blowing its top, Bruce's ejector seat ride at the end of the sequel)...
But the nastiness of this one makes it stand out. Tricked by naughty terrorists into thinking the ground is lower than it actually is (damn you, fog!) Colm Meaney flies his plane into the runway.
Yeah, the film itself is a massive sack of wang and Travolta's prissy criminal mastermind now seems like an extra from Bruno.
But if the budget didn't go on the script, a decent chunk of it was clearly splashed on this gruesome slo-mo C4-and-ballbearing explodo-porn.
Not strictly in the spirit of Bonfire Night, but if you're going to have an explosion which doesn't include any fire, then this is the only one in town.
David Cronenberg kickstarts his cult psychic sci-fi with an assassination resembling a melon being run over by a bus, as a piffling telepath is literally taken apart by a powerful enemy.
V For Vendetta (2005)
Perfect for Bonfire Night - with V pulling off the original firework, the one Guy Fawkes could never complete.
It's spectacular, of course, but also a very
explosion - dancing and tripping to music in a way that's almost slapstick. Huge.
Broken Arrow (1996)
Artful trash from director John Woo, proving that the best way to use John Travolta is to remove from him the burden of doing any real acting. Instead he's flat-out mental as the whooping traitor in this pumping action flick, hollering as his crew takes down a helicopter with an EMP device.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
There are bigger explosions in Cameron's blockiest blockbuster of them all (the deleted scene of the nuclear holocaust, for one) but this is the most dramatically staged, with mortally wounded paradox-criminal Miles Dyson using his last ragged breaths to hold a weight over a detonator before
blowing his office to dust
Fight Club (1999)
The CG-tunnelling shot of the apartment gas flare-up comes a close second to this - not so much an explosion as a tearing, terrifying collapse, with Ed Norton's distracted narrator daydreaming about his plane falling to bits and falling from the sky.
Shocking, provocative, and pyrotechnically brilliant.
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
The savagely pointed end to Kubrick's masterful dark comedy, which has Vera Lynn's redemptive World War 2 singalong We'll Meet Again playing obscenely over stock footage of real nuclear blasts (because - surely - we won't, will we?) as the film's fictional world erupts into a very final World War 3.
Independence Day (1997)
God bless the '90s, and its gleefully obscene cinema of spectacle.
A mixture of model work and CG combine for this awesomely over the top sequence in which it turns out our alien visitors are not the friendly phoning home type, but the destroying all your cities and stealing your planet type instead.
The Matrix (1999)
During test screening, this was the moment Joel Silver has said he knew the film was "working."
No wonder - the sequence from Neo going all bullet-dance, through
skyward shot of tinkling bullet casings and on to the authentically jaw-dropping chopper-crash ending is still an absolute ripper.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The explosion itself is
- a corridor of hospital rooms detonating in synchronised sequence as the Joker strolls to the exit, followed by an escalating 'boom-boom-BOOM' which encompasses the entire building.
But it's Ledger's Joker that really makes the moment, fidgeting and twitching as he ignites his handiwork.
Star Wars IV: A New Hope (1977)
Vacuum schmacuum - when you’re blowing up a symbol of galaxy-wide imperial power in space, it needs to make a proper boom.
We've chosen the classic 'massive sparkly firework in space' version over the ostensibly more impressive CG wowser from the special edition because there's a class to it that other explosions just can't muster.
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