Unprepared Person Who's Just Naturally Awesome; Hot Chicks; 8 more of director's go-to moves
Experience, wisdom, professionalism, the ability to learn a skill and utilize it effectively: NERD STUFF. The Bay protagonist is untrained, unprepared, unlikely…and completely the right man for the job. In The Rock, Nicolas Cage is a chemical weapons specialist with scarce field experience; within hours, he's running, gunning, and car-flipping his way through San Francisco and Alcatraz. (At one point, he specifically tells his superiors that he isn't trained for interrogation; they immediately send him in to interrogate someone.)
Most of Bay's central characters follow a similar story arc. Ewan McGregor's Lincoln Six-Echo has never even seen the outside world, but he's able to drive like a superstar because ''driving like a superstar'' is in his blood or something. Shia LaBeouf and Mark Wahlberg are introduced as lovable nerdy small-town guys who are uncannily capable of taking down building-sized alien death machines. Pain and Gain is the first Michael Bay film to actually play its characters' ineptitude for laughs.