Monday, September 16, 2013

Pain & Gain - DVD Review

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, Tony Shalhoub, Rob Corddry, Ken Jeong and Michael Rispoli.
Directed by Michael Bay.


This is Bay in Bad Boys mode. It's a high-octane crime caper featuring some muscle-heads trying to live the American dream. By stealing the accumulated wealth from someone else.

It's based on a true story but it takes a looooot of liberties with actual events (for example, Dwayne Johnson's character is a fictitous combination of three people from the real story). A faithful telling of the facts wouldn't have been as fun.

Wahlberg is the idiot who's perfecting his body at his gym but wondering why he isn't more successful. After all, he's worth it. After attending a bogus self-help seminar, he's inspired to grab life by the throat and take what he wants. What he wants is the fortune of his wealthiest client (Tony Shalhoub), a jerk who owns several properties around Florida. He gets a couple friends (Johnson, Anthony Mackie) to help him kidnap the client, then they force him to sign over all his money.

It's fast-paced, frenetic, and it's where Bay's style excels. I don't why he chose to make the kidnappers more comical/likeable and why he made the victims jerks, but it would have taken a Scorsese-like hand to guide the waters through a more faithful account.  As is, it was fun, as fun as a movie can be where someone ends up on death row.

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