Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris, Rob Corddry
Directed by: Michael Bay
Written By: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 2 hr 9 min
On some level I find myself weirdly respecting Michael Bay. He seems like a director who’s not afraid to indulge his appetites for bikinied babes, mass destruction, testosterone fueled heroes and CGI firework shows. He just doesn’t seem to care if anyone likes his work, because he’s personally having a great time making the movies he wants to see. Luckily for him, unlike some other directors who you might accuse of being self indulgent – The movies Bay likes to make, other people like to watch.
Pain & Gain isn’t like his Transformer movies because it doesn’t have any robots in it. Pain & Gain is like his Transformer movies because it has everything else! Scantily dressed women – check. Explosions – check. Gorgeously vivid and colorful photography – check. Gratuitous slow motion shots – got that too. It’s all here telling the true story of three Floridian body builders who decide to kidnap and extort a local wealthy businessman. There’s some glimpses of a deeper meaning to this mess of a movie. A dig perhaps at a younger generation, raised on meaningless rewards for little actual achievement. Heading into the real world to find no one wants to hand them anymore gold stars for doing nothing. Maybe. But Micheal Bay usually seems more interested in giving you visual junk food, rather than deliver a message.
If you have enjoyed Micheal Bay movies so far, I think you’ll understand how you should approach this. Brain off – eyes open – enjoy the pretty fireworks. If you’ve never seen a Michael Bay movie, expect an over the top production. Crazy stupid characters, lots of color, and not a lot to say.
Best viewing format:
The colors are so vibrant I’d suggest a matinee showing. A HD showing at home for sure.
Best element for me:
Dwayne Johnson as Paul Doyle. A body builder who frequently accepts Jesus as his savior in between bouts of drug abuse. Hilarious, and the only reason why I would recommend you see this film.