Pain & Gain (2013)

Pain & Gain (2013)
  • Time: 129 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Crime | Drama
  • Director: Michael Bay
  • Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Ed Harris


Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson). Their kidnapping and extortion scheme goes terribly wrong since they have muscles for brains and they’re left to haphazardly try to hold onto the elusive American dream.


  • If you thought this would be a good action flick, you’re going to have a bad time. A true story is no excuse for a truly dumb movie. I like most of the Michael Bay-movies (Bad Boys, Transformers, Armageddon,…), but this is obviously way different. “Pain & Gain” is not only not as funny as the trailer made us believe, it’s also overlong and therefore partly tiresome. In addition to that, it’s even morally highly objectionable and quite simply utterly stupid. Too many times in the story the characters acted like junior high kids trying to pull off a stunt before the teacher showed up. Mark Wahlberg was alright in the beginning then tightend in the middle. Dwayne Johnson was ok but not really what I was expecting. I would not recommend this movie as a good one, it’s not what you might expect!

  • I do not agree :)… Normally I think Michel Bay movies are crap, this one on the other hand was quite a surprise. It’s hard to believe that this movie is based on a true story, but considering that it is, I couldn’t have asked for a more entertaining portrayal in and of itself. A lot of people are arguing that it wasn’t as funny as they thought it would be or there wasn’t enough action, In my mind it gave us a flawless reenactment of 3 knuckle heads trying to grab the whole pie of the American dream.

    The scenes, sights, costumes and cars, along with the great cast really helped to bring us back to mid 90’s Miami. Though some moments are funny, I found myself more or less gripped and sometimes cringing as the story unfolded itself.

    If you’re looking for a good movie in today’s piles of turd sandwiches, I’d recommend Pain & Gain.

  • “You know why habit rhymes with rabbit? Because your life goes down a rabbit hole.”
    (Irrelevant quote from Lugo and an indication what to expect from this movie)

    Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie and especially Dwayne Johnson in a movie about three body-builders who are involved in a kidnapping which they screw up completely.
    A great action picture that can provide some distraction on a Saturday night. That’s what I imagined since that was the only thing I knew about this movie. And judging the poster it could be an entertaining movie with three mindless hulks (Wahlberg in a lesser degree, but that’s compensated by Johnson).

    After fifteen minutes I actually began to wonder what I was watching and it seemed to me as if those 3 guys wanted to make an absurd comedy. With the emphasis on “seemed” because I really had to look hard to find the so called humor in this movie. It’s nothing but three steroid inflated balloon heads experiencing slightly absurd situations. The situations and acts were more and more retarded as the movie progressed. The only positive was the excellent caricature of an arrogant businessman played by Tony Shalhoub. Even when his situation looked dire and hopeless, he still retained a big mouth.

    The rest was bland, incomprehensible and totally unbelievable. Those three guys better just stick to decent hard-hitting action movies and as soon as they read the word comedy in a script, run it through the paper shredder. It was as unbelievable as a movie with Pee Wee Herman as an unbeatable action hero who defeats a complete horde of ferocious warriors. Apparently it should be an ironic satire. Apparently there’s something wrong with my taste and interpretation, because I didn’t see it like that at all. The fact that it was based on a true story puzzled me more. Was it really so or just an ironic untruth ?

    Towards the end, I fell asleep for 5 minutes and eventually watched it till the end. I had nothing else to do.

    Biggest plus in this corny movie was Bar Paly, Keili Lefkovitz and Vivi Pineda along with a battery of beautiful women sitting in sharply cut bikinis and swimsuits so you were repeatedly treated by dry-trained appetizing looking rosy bums. More of that and I certainly had watched the whole movie.

    More or less funny : the whole problem of impotence and penis-problem of Anthony Mackie with those snappy one-liners regarding that.

    Most boring item : Johnson shooting his big toe of his foot and the dog eventually nibbling on it.

  • I have to admit, I’ve been wanting to see this film for a while. Its fanatic trailer pulled me right in. It’s true, I have an affection for good movie trailers. This is a film with actors (to early to tell with Dwayne Johnson) that are well accomplished and respected in the industry. However, what I still haven’t learned in my lifetime of movie consumption is that if the trailer is solid, the whole product might not be. And boy did I certainly learn the hard way on a beautiful Friday afternoon. I ventured into a nearby theater and 2 hours later had the misfortune to witness the monstrosity that is Pain & Gain. This is a deeply outrageous and disturbing piece of work (it’s not a compliment). I am very certain that the actors completed their scenes without knowing in the slightest, what the finished product would be like. Here’s another thought, maybe they’re probably are all too familiar with Michael Bay’s films. This tells me that either they owe him a favor by appearing in Pain & Gain, or they lost a bet with him (take your pick).

    Let me just say this, I have a very strong opinion about movies that are based on a true story or are actually a true story (this vehicle lets you know the second one right away). What I can’t figure out is why director Bay was at the helm to oversee things. Yeah, he’s a successful guy with solid box office returns, but having him direct a film bent on telling a true story is the equivalent of having musical sensation Justin Bieber open up for the Rolling Stones. Do you know how weird that sounds. Listen, if a movie tells a true story, it should do so. It shouldn’t matter if the people depicted in it are bad or not in real life (in this case they’re bad). In all honesty, you still have a monumental task to be faithful to the proceedings. Unfortunately, Bay likes to add a lot of his outlandish cinematic trademarks (ridiculously fast editing, silly upward camera angles, cars filmed going a thousand miles an hour, oh and dogs, you can’t forget dogs) to get the job done. Hey,don’t get me wrong, I like his Transformer movies. They’re part of my collection of cinematic guilty pleasures. But I was expecting a different type of film with Pain & Gain because I read somewhere that this was a more mature outing from the Bayster. As always, I like to keep an open mind. As I write this review I’m thinking, no wait, what WAS I THINKING! I’ve decided that this movie will make you feel icky, dirty, and in need of cleansing. It gets a lot of things wrong. It gets them so wrong in fact, that you don’t wanna just throw things at the screen, you literally want to heave them.

    It’s about the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg in a standard high energy Mark Wahlberg performance), a bodybuilder/fitness expert from Miami, Florida who sees his life going nowhere (9 to 5 job, just barely getting by). Frustrated and looking for a better overall existence, he decides to kidnap one of his richest most asinine clients (Victor Kershaw played by Tony Shalhoub who hasn’t aged a bit), torture him into signing some documents, and take him for everything he’s worth. This is done with the help of his two best work buddies (Dwayne Johnson as Paul Doyle, Anthony Mackie as Adrian Doorbal). These two guys are pretty naive. And over time they acquire an equal share in the guilty doings that happen as part of Wahlberg’s master plan. As Pain & Gain lurches onto its second half, a retired cop (Ed Harris) is recruited by Shalhoub’s character. He enters the picture and tries to take these guys down with good old fashioned police detective work.

    Behind the scenes, it’s obvious that Wahlberg and the other members of the cast got into super shape for their roles. They look incredibly ripped, especially Johnson. Watching him, you almost feel that he’s too big for the screen, like you need a couple of extra ones just to fit “The Rock” in. As I was expecting, all the characters pretty much look and act like they’re on steroids (which they were of course. Also, Johnson dabbles in large amounts of cocaine). Their behavior shows and things get crazier and crazier when the film hits pay dirt (a few severed limbs in this one, one of Bay’s favorite trademarks).

    From the word go, you know that Pain and Gain walks the fine line between playing with and/or abusing its “true story” responsibilities. How do I know this, toward the end of its running time, there is a caption in the lower right hand corner that actually says, “This Real Is A True Story.” What hurts the most is that it doesn’t feel like you’re watching a film based on what actually happened, it feels like you’re watching another Michael Bay concoction. This torrid mess also walks another fine line. It truly evokes the most uneven mix of gratuitous violence and over-the-top comedy that I have witnessed in many a moon (I felt like I was viewing his old film Bad Boys II (2003) mixed with Very Bad Things (1998)).

    Now the acting, which is never really “A” caliber in most Bay films, is pretty solid here. However, most of the performances are completely dumbed down to fit his monotonous directorial style. This is especially inherit in Wahlberg’s minutes on screen. He literally goes from nice, normal working class dude to complete psychopath in a short period of time (Jekyll and Hide style brought on by the roids I guess). Then there is the Ed Harris character (Detective Ed Du Bois) who enters the film halfway. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a screen presence look more out of place in a movie in my entire life. Once things get established, he looks lost in certain scenes, gets lost in those scenes, and seemingly can’t find his way out. Ed Harris to me is a terrific screen talent. But why he chose to be in Pain & Gain is a complete mystery (oh I forgot, he was in Bay’s The Rock (1996)). The movie is disturbing in ways that I can’t describe and Ed is by far, the most normal guy in it. He looks like he doesn’t belong but believe me, it’s not his fault.

    Pretty much every actor gets slimed by the tone of Bay’s work in this one. It’s biggest flaw unfaithfully lies in the direction. If this film ever got remade (not gonna happen), I would hope a different power would take the reins. Pain & Gain would work better if it was a searing drama and not a painfully bloated action film. Yeah it will make a lot of money just like all his films do, but in truth, you have nothing to “gain” from watching it. At about the 45 minute mark, Wahlberg says, “I watched a lot of movies Paul, I know what I’m doing.” Yeah I’ve watch a lot of movies too, and there’s no way in the world I could recommend this one.

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