Many modern movies are so overloaded with computer effects you may not recognize a great stunt staring you in the face. Such is absolutely the case with Michael Bay’s third Transformers movie, in which the big finale features a major battle in Chicago.
In the middle of all the explosions and giant robots/cars, a team of good guys wearing wingsuits is air-dropped into downtown, and the camera swoops behind them as they dodge skyscrapers. And it’s all real. Filming took place in downtown Chicago, and the production team had to close down the city to allow the stunt to take place.
Skydiver JT Homes explains how director Michael Bay saw him in action on 60 Minutes and decided to use the thrillseeker and his wingsuit for the robot blockbuster. Holmes and his team were used to soaring past mountains… but never skyscrapers.
The jumping sequence provides plenty of jaw-dropping visuals — with guys zooming around the Willis Tower, or past the Aon and Aqua buildings. The jump is shown as a continuous descent from the Osprey to the ground. In addition to seven helicopter jumps, Holmes and his team plunged off the Willis Tower four times and the Trump Tower twice, as many as five men at once.
Six agencies had to sign off on the stunts, including the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, the Police Department, and the Federal Aviation Administration.
The first Transformers movie has its flaws, but it did have its charms. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) is a better movie than the 2nd but like the other films in the franchise it’s all VFX-driven. Mostly the film works because of its kick-ass 3D action scenes. Bay’s action scenes here are bigger, better, and more brutal than any in the first two films, even though it’s still tough at times to tell the robots apart in battle.