Film Review – Pain and Gain

Film Review - Pain & GainDIRECTED BY: Michael Bay

STARRING: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris, Bar Paly and Rebel Wilson



A trio of bodybuilders in Florida get caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong.

Film Review - Pain & Gain - Bar Paly and Dwayne JohnsonChrist, where to start. Suppose I’ll get to the plot of the film first. The film opens with Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) getting chased by a large number of cops and eventually gets hit by a police car, to which we when go back to around a few months before to see how Lugo ends up in that particular situation. We follow Lugo getting a job at Sun Gym and becomes friends with Adrian Doorbal along the way. He then sees the lifestyle and learns a bit about Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), who he trains at the gym, and begins to think to himself, what a dick and decides that Victor doesn’t deserve the money that he has and plans to kidnap Victor and take his assets for himself. He also recruits recently released convict Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) and from there they kidnap, torture Victor (at extreme length) to take his assets and then fail to kill him after a few botched attempts. There’s comedy elements there but does it make me laugh and enjoy the film? Well, no.

Film Review - Pain & Gain - Dwayne Johnson, Tony Shalhoub and Mark WahlbergKnowing about the true story, the film does become uncomfortable in a few parts, especially given the fact that these were guys that set out to kill the ones that they targeted and did with two of them, but seem to make it more accidental (Frank Griga/Krisztina) and then proceed to go and chop them up. There is some traditional Michael Bay signatures in here, mainly two from Bad Boys 2 that I can think of, that rotating 360 shot leading to the eventual blow off between Lugo and Griga, with Doorbal/Doyle and Krisztina in the other room and also dead woman’s jiggling breasts, it makes a recurring appearance again.


I like the cast involved (I mean they even got Ed Harris in for christ sake) and the comedy elements do make you laugh AT them rather than WITH them, or well so you would hope. The fact is this film was billed for all intents and purposes as a comedy from the trailers alone. I mean even some of the attempts of comedy in it feel forced.


Either I’m lost in the film or the film is lost in itself.



The film in the first half is confused in the narrative but becomes more focused when Ed Harris comes into the scene. Considering it’s a Bay film, it is better than his more recent efforts, although that alone is not saying much (We will always have The Rock). Still not enough for me to enjoy or like, even with that cast. 4/10

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