Sunday, 25 August 2013

Pain & Gain

The trailer for Pain & Gain looked pretty decent but let’s be honest, Pain & Gain didn’t need an advertising campaign as the pairing of Mark Wahlberg and The Rock pretty much sells itself.
PLOT:  Bodybuilder Daniel (Mark Wahlberg) gets fed up working in a dead end job and decides to steal everything from Victor (Tony Shalhoub), an obnoxious client.  Daniel recruits Paul (Dwayne Johnston) and Adrian (Anthony Mackie) and together they plot to kidnap Victor and force him to sign over all of his assets.  As the trio enjoy their stolen life of luxury Victor plots to expose them.  END PLOT
Pain & Gain opens with the disclaimer that it is based on a true story.  This little factoid is quickly forgotten about as we watch the farcical and very funny attempts of Daniel, Paul and Adrian to carry out their plan.
I had watched three idiots kidnap and torture a man for thirty days, steal his fortune and thereafter murder two people, chop up their bodies and dump the remains in a river.  This is a true story.  This was also the premise of a Michael Bay comedy.  What. The. Fuck.
Attempt to kill Victor number 4.
There are a good number of laughs in the film and I spent the two hours wondering how it could become any more ridiculous only to have this question answered several times.  The humour is dark and there are some brilliant flinch-and-cringe moments most of which involve a chainsaw. 
The problem is we are reminded towards the end that this is indeed a true story.  At this point the film lost me completely. 
Given that the film takes a very dark turn the last person you want directing is Michael Bay; a man who does not know the definition of subtly and is not renowned for handling comedy.  The mixture of truth and farce made for one of the most bizarre film experiences in recent memory.  I am sure the families of the murdered victims are simply ecstatic with their portrayal in the film.
Pain & Gain is saved by the cast – Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnston and Anthony Mackie are all excellent and cannot be faulted for their performances.  Rebel Wilson also pops up as Mackie’s wife and is a very welcome sight.

Bay owes these guys a beer

It was impossible to feel any kind of sympathy for Daniel, Paul and Adrian and there was absolutely no way to redeem their actions.  In fairness to Bay I don’t think he tried but overall Pain & Gain is one big ill-conceived mess. 
The end credits showed pictures of the cast alongside their real life counterparts.  It was not classy. It served as a reminder of how mishandled this film was.
There are laughs but they become more uncomfortable as the film progresses.  Pain & Gain would work as a black comedy but only in the hands of a much more capable director.  Bay’s bright colour pallet, slow motion shots and his love of helicopters and low flying aeroplanes were not right for this story. 
Pain & Gain gets 5/10 and is one of the oddest cinema experiences I have had in a long time. 


  1. It's a really strange experience, as a film I enjoyed it but it's really screwed up especially if you read about the true story which isn't too far from the movie.

    1. I agree - if it were just a film I would have enjoyed it as there were parts that were really funny. The true story aspect is really unsettling and it just made the entire film feel wrong.


      K :-)

  2. One of the oddest, yet most hilarious cinema experiences in a very long time. I had a fucking blast 9/10 :)

    1. I just found the entire film bizarre!

      It was funny though!

      K :-)