Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris
Written By: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Directed By: Michael Bay
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Watching this movie is like watching ESPN’s Bodyshaping on acid and steroids combined. Pain & Gain is based on a true story and most of it feels like it’s a bunch of bullshit, except this really happened (to an extent).
Pain & Gain takes places in 1995 in Miami-Dade area and is about a bodybuilder & fitness trainer Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg). Lugo works at a local Miami Gym and is sick of being poor, and gets a dumb idea when he starts to train a successful but spoiled entrepreneur Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub). He comes up with an plan to rob Victor of his money and property and murder him to live a wealthy life. Lugo gets help from his gym buddy Adrian (Anthony Mackie) and an ex-con bodybuilder Paul (Dwayne Johnson). They originally think they succeed in their plan, but the shit hits the fan when Victor turns up alive and hires an investigator to get everything back from him. Let’s just say these guys aren’t the brightest bunch.
I heard from a few people that this movie was insane but entertaining. While I liked some parts of the movie, it just felt bizarre and over-the-top. This is based on a true story, so most of the stuff that happens in this probably happened or was slightly off. Dwayne Johnson’s character was a composite of a few people involved in the real crime. The over-the-top stuff comes from Michael Bay, who feels like he casts nothing but Playboy models in his movies and does everything in slow-mo for the hell of it. Not complaining about the women in the movie but it’s so obvious he promises all these women he meets at these Playboy Mansion parties a role in his movies. His sweeping/circle camera shots is used in a scene yet again, and it always makes me feel woozy. It’s a cool effect but overdone in his movies. Of course he needed shots of slow-mo helicopters in this movie as well. I like some Michael Bay movies but sometimes I just really hate him.
I’m sure Michael Bay glamorized some of the stuff these guys did a little bit and added some comedy relief to this. In reality, I’m sure it wasn’t funny at all considering there’s double murder, torture, extortion, fraud and a list of other crimes these morons did. I wouldn’t even really consider this a comedy, maybe a dark comedy if that. This is a pretty messed up movie at times but if you like laughing at people getting tortured then well, you kind of need some help I think. I didn’t really have a problem with the acting and thought Dwayne Johnson stood out from them all. His role was different than what he’s usually known for. I’d like to see him be in more comedies because he does have some comedy chops I think. Mark Wahlberg plays dumb very well so he was very believable in this role. His role reminded me of his Boogie Nights role but even dumber.
The Blu-Ray doesn’t have any special features which is really weak. Could have had interviews, interviews with people involved in the real story, a featurette about the real story and other behind the scenes stuff but all we get is digital copy of the movie. Not a whole lot of effort put into this one.
Pain & Gain is an action thriller with comedy elements thrown in there here and there. This isn’t a straight up comedy folks. It’s a movie about unlikable people who are stupid doing stupid things. It’s like Very Bad Things, except worse.
English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD
French 5.1 Dolby Digital
Bottom Line: Bizarre story that has a few memorable moments
Running Time: 129 mins