When you hear the name Michael Bay and Mark Wahlberg, the words box office hit probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Michael Bay did ruin my all time favorite childhood cartoon with the live-action atrocities featuring Shia LaBeouf (Transformers is about the robots! Not some kid running around trying to get the girl!). Mark Wahlberg has some good and some (or many) bad performances under his belt, after all who can forget Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch? Even with these two names associated with the movie, something about the trailer for Pain & Gain made me want to watch the movie. What did I think of Pain & Gain? Keep reading to find out!
Pain & Gain is based on a true story about the “Sun Gym Gang” and their exploits in Miami during the late 90’s. The three main characters Daniel Lugo (Wahlberg), Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) are bodybuilders that are sick of being poor. They hatch a plan to kidnap a rich businessman that is a regular at their gym, Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), and extort him for money. This sounds too be crazy to be true story right? I thought that too but it is based on actual events.
So how did the movie turn out? I can describe it in one word, awkward. From the trailer (posted below) it seems like it’s going to be another Fast and The Furious. The actual movie on the other hand, has no idea what it wants to be. It seems like that Michael Bay wanted it to be a satirical of the actual events but he failed to get even close. There is a feeling that it wants to be a serious drama and slapstick comedy at the same time. The movie doesn’t have a nice balance of the two, it just keeps going from one extreme to the other in one scene. The result is this unsettling feeling where you can’t believe what you just saw on screen.
There are two reasons that save this movie from the don’t bother watching recommendation, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Ed Harris. I’ll admit that I will watch anything The Rock is in but I do believe he’s a good actor and makes anything he is in better. The Rock plays the softie, tough guy in this movie, it isn’t his first time playing a character like this. The thing that really sells it in this movie is how huge his muscles are. He is so bulked up he makes everyone else in the movie look like a twig! Combine that with his acting and you just believe he is Paul Doyle. Ed Harris plays Ed Du Bois, the private investigator Victor Kershaw hires after he survives an attempted murder by the Sun Gym Gang. Ed Harris played the role perfectly; he is exactly what I would expect when I walk into a PI’s office. When you see him on screen you get the feeling that his character has been around the block a few times and has that hard edge needed to catch the criminals.
So you are probably wondering if this movie is worth watching, my recommendation is that this is a rental movie. The awkward feel of this movie is definitely not worth the price of a movie ticket but it’s still worth seeing The Rock and Ed Harris in this movie. Don’t go into this movie expecting to see an action flick, you will be disappointed. This movie is not Michael Bay’s worse movie, but it’s not his best one either. It’s better than Transformers, but not by much. This movie is perfect for those times where you want to see a movie that is slightly different off from the beaten path, but don’t expect it to be on anyone’s must see movie list for 2013.