Movie Review: Pain & Gain (2013)

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Let’s face it, the works of Michael Bay are not mastepieces. “Transformers”, good popcorn material. “Bad Boys”, second verse, same as the first. “Armageddon”, cheesy 90’s fun. “Pearl Harbor”…we don’t talk about “Pearl Harbor”. But he hasn’t done too much bigger-ish things in the last couple of years except for shitty “Transformers” sequels. But then this came into being…”Pain & Gain”, a phrase that is actually kind of true. But after watching it, what did this guy right here think about it? Let’s find out.

Bad boys and bad girls…”Pain & Gain”.

Miami, 1995. Bodybuilder Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) is doing some workout on a billboard. Then he runs away because…cops (cue the song “Bad Boys”). Then after a while of running, he gets hit by a car. Then we get a flashback to 1994 about what got him into this mess. He used to work at a gym with Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie). At the gym he meets his new co-worker and friend Paul Doyle (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). These three guys are not happy with their lives, they wanna make more money. So they hatch up a neat plan. A plan that involves kidnapping the biggest douchebag in town who is also rich as fuck (Tony Shalhoub). And they manage that even though they are arguing all the time. They kidnap him, get their money and new lives. Victor Kershaw A.K.A the douchebag gets beaten up and now lives in a crappy house. The other guys live their new lives, trying to adapt to that lifestyle. Honestly, the story didn’t thrill me at all. Not saying it was bad, it just didn’t work out all too well. A lot of times they glorify the use of drugs, alcohol and violence. This movie seriously makes that shit look like a good idea…even more than “Wolf of Wall Street”. But some parts are fairly entertaining, mainly the parts featuring The Rock. Can’t put my finger on why, I just think that. One thing that would have made this movie a little better would have been if they would have made it a little shorter considering a few scenes were boring and unnecessary. It is two hours and ten minutes long…it would have worked out better being like one hour fifty minutes. Otherwise, decent enough story. And oh yeah, this is based on a true story…even though it doesn’t seem like it. And this true story is just something that I read after watching this and felt Michael Bay just glorified it…and that is not cool.

The characters were as in any other Michael Bay movie…I did not give a shit about them. I only cared because I like the actors. Like I previously stated: the only one I kinda liked was The Rock as this ex-convict turned christian. He gave me this sense that he didn’t want everything that went wrong to go wrong…and actually feel sorry about it. I did also like Ed Harris’ character in the movie even though he was…insignificant. He really had not purpose in this movie. Also, every female character in this movie was as in every Michael Bay movie…just there for fan service…nothing else. The only female standing out was Rebel Wilson…and she didn’t even have that much of an important role. So yeah, the characters were meh.

On the musical aspect I kinda liked it actually. Most of the soundtrack is composed by the great Steve Jablonsky (Gears of War franchise among other things). His score was subtle (unlike most of the movie) and almsot a little chilling. Then there were a few licensed songs. Most notably Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise”…in a version that sounds like it was a cover of it. And I did not like that too much since I am a fan of the original song.

This movie features several recurring tropes we often see in his movies. Like girls for fan service only, overuse of slow motion, some pyrotechnics and heavy focus on different colors. And while these troped bug me a little…I have to admit, Michael Bay knows how to make a good looking movie, and he proves it right here.

The reception for “Pain & Gain” has been very mixed. Rotten Tomatoes curently holds a ranking of 49% on it. Metacritic gave this a 45/100. There is no Roger Ebert review for this movie…which is fully understandable since it came out circa a week after he sadly passed away. imdb.com has the score of 6,5/10 for this movie.

So based on what I have said about this movie on the story and all other stuff I am giving this movie the score of 6,11/10. And I recommend you to rent it if you want to see it. This is not a bad movie, but it is far from buyable. Like I said, if you wanna see it…rent it…or stream it on netflix if it exists on there.

It was Painful to watch it. But I Gained a new review. (Get it?).

Bye-bye.