Wires drip sparks and buildings spit debris as cars bullet their way down streets before flipping through the air.
And that's only on the first take.
This was one of the many exciting things we saw last August on the Detroit set of Transformers: Age of Extinction, which comes to theaters June 27. Judging by the toys Michael Bay gets to play with -- and the scale in which he plays with them -- you can't blame the director for returning to the franchise after proclaiming that the third film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, would be his last.
So what made Bay come back for a fourth film?
"The real truth?" Bay said. "I went to the [Universal Studios Transformers Ride], and I saw a three-hour line.” Seeing families get so excited inspired Bay not to hand the franchise’s reigns over to a new, potentially inexperienced director and risk diluting the brand.
Bay went on to say that what made his fourth outing extra fun was reuniting with his Pain & Gain star Mark Wahlberg. In Extinction, Wahlberg plays a father struggling to make ends meet for him and his daughter (newcomer Nicola Peltz) when he discovers a Transformer. The running and shooting starts soon after, as enemies both domestic and intergalactic threaten to turn Earth into a war zone.
As Optimus Prime readies to battle new foes -- with the help of the Dinobots -- here are 10 things we learned from our visit to this summer's next big hit.
1. Extinction is not a reboot - it takes place three years after the events of the third film's Battle of Chicago, and deals with the fallout of that attack in a very realistic way.
2. Bay and his team redesigned the robots, making sure that fan-favorite Transformers retain their most iconic aspects. Not only did Team Bay rethink the robots' physical appearance, they also invested them with more "character," according to Bay.
3. The Transformers once again use the globe as their boxing ring. The movie takes place in Hong Kong and mainland China, with Bay promising a return to Chicago for a very "big scene."
4. While Shia LaBeouf's character is absent from the film, the script will make reference to Sam Witwicky.
5. Extinction will introduce nearly 20 new Transformers, including Galvatron -- the villain from the 1986 animated Transformers movie.
6. In the film, the Autobot Hound wields grenades the size of refrigerators.
7. Wondering how Wahlberg ends up in China with the Transformers? In the film [SPOILER ALERT], Wahlberg's character hitches a ride on an alien craft capable of making the trip in less than three minutes.
8. Bay screened a sizzle reel of sorts for us inside a Chinese noodle factory on the Detroit set doubling for China. Every time the action music kicked in, Bay gestured to the guy running playback to turn it up.
9. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura insists that Extinction has more in common with the classic Transformers series than any of the previous films.
10. Action-wise, Bay may outdo himself with this film. In addition to a Hong Kong set piece that may find robots parkouring down the side of an apartment building, Bay also promises a scene involving helicopters, cars, heavy artillery and, of course, explosions. Lots of 'em.