Looking Back…Pain & Gain (2013)

To celebrate his leading role in Patriots Day, we’re looking at one of Mark Wahlberg’s performance in Pain & Gain.

Ok. I know a lot of you just read the title of this movie and thought to yourself “but Sarah, you are praising Michael Bay.” I assure you with every iota of my existence that this pains me more than you. After all, throwing Bay a bone is like giving a slab of pure meaty steak to the beefiest dogs ever that bites you every time you go near. I don’t want to give his ego another boost after he cut up some of the greatest childhood memories and still continues to do so!

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With that in mind, I kept my distance from Pain & Gain for a while. Because the whole entire affair looked fucking ridiculous to me, and I am sure you can agree. Inspired by a true story (no, I am not fucking joking,) it revolves around Daniel Lugo, a gym fitness instructor in Florida for the old rich who aspires to have money, women and all that sort of trash. However, he will want to do it at any cost. Roping in his friends Adrian Doorbal and Paul

In many ways, this is just an awful film. It’s an ultra-violet fuck fest that relies too heavily on the ham handed styles of Michael Bay. The man has clearly poured all the budget into making Florida look like a florescent UV party on a reality television shows rather than spending it on writers he should have paid to bulk up the story. It is just too much and, instead of it being a tongue in cheek, it feels as though the entire crew took cocaine while they were out in their sun. The spinning shots, the cut angels, and the vibrancy is dizzying and it really really makes you hate it. A lot.

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One of the reason it’s so brilliant is because the the acting is phenomenally insane. Mark Walhberg, Dwayne Johnson, and Anthony Mackie are perfect speciemins on how to have a good time with a truly crazy film. Walhberg is abhorrent and he is supposed to be -one of those adrenaline junkies that imposes their view points on situations. Somehow he makes it likeable despite trying to kill and succeeding people in rage. Mackie is always watchable. But it is Johnson that makes it. As Paul starts to lose his grip on his actions and is effected by the paranoia, he goes from nut, to insane, to utterly bat-shit.

Much like the stereotypical  body builders huffing and puffing at the gym, you’ll want a donut afterwards and be happy that you spent your life living on them. Pain & Gain isn’t entirely terrible but it stinks of a million dollar adrenaline injection that Michael Bay has clearly made himself delirious on. It also has a run time that makes little sense (if it cut half an hour, it would probably be a little bit more coherent rather than running around with its delirium.) It will appease some, but not all and it is highly enjoyable to watch.


Patriots Day is out now. 

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