Pain & Gain Blu-ray Review
by Jake Peffer
Director Michael Bay has certainly had an interesting filmmaking career. He’s given us a plethora of action packed, special effects driven films that have all ranged in quality. From The Rock to the Bad Boys films to the Transformers franchise, it’s been made clear that Bay certainly knows how to put together a big budget film with lots of explosions, car crashes and shootouts. Only problem is besides the usually great action set pieces and the special effects there isn’t much else to call good in Michael Bay films. Pain & Gain is the first film that we see Bay trying to do something a little different than his normal effects driven films as he goes for more of a comedy mixed with a lot of brutal action. But does Bay trying something different work well?
In some ways Pain & Gain does work and in other ways it falls short. With a great cast as usual and a somewhat interesting story Bay has put together one of his better directed films. From the trailers it was very hard to tell exactly what this film was going to be. It seemed like Bay was trying to poke fun at his previous films as this almost felt like a bit of a parody of what he normally does. Not only are the leads here some of the dumbest characters around but the film itself is dumb as well. The filmmakers know it’s dumb and they don’t shy away from it which actually bodes well for it since it is somewhat of a self parody of sorts.
While there is plenty to enjoy here there is also quite a few things I had problems with. First and foremost the fact that this is “based on a true story,” I’m sure very little of this film actually happened in the real life story so it really seems pointless to even say that it’s based on a true story. Another problem here is that there are way too many voiceovers throughout. Every main character gets numerous voiceovers and only about 5% of them, if even that, are actually worth being used. Something that’s a problem in almost every Michael Bay film is that it overstays it’s welcome which is no different here. Pain & Gain clocks in at about two hours and ten minutes but the pacing of the story makes it feel almost like two and a half hours when the story probably could have been wrapped up in about an hour and forty-five minutes.
Despite its flaws there is plenty to enjoy here. The cast that was put together here works great. Mark Walhberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie make for a great trio of bodybuilders out to steal everything from a wealthy asshole. They all have great chemistry together but it’s their character’s stupidity that makes every scene with them hilarious. Dwayne Johnson deserves the most recognition for his unbelievably insane performance as a coked up Jesus freak. Tony Shaloub (Monk) makes for a great villain and Ed Harris (The Rock) is good as the detective trying to track down our three leads. There was only one flaw in the cast and that was Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect). She just didn’t really fit into the story well and really any actress could have played her part. There is a lot of brutal violence which is usually played for laughs and most of the time it is quite funny but it definitely won’t be for everyone. Mostly all the action scenes work well as we would expect from a Bay film but the film isn’t filled with them as we’ve come to expect from him.
Verdict: With a great cast, an interesting storyline and a downright hilarious sense of humor, Pain & Gain offers a lot for entertainment. It does overstay it’s welcome and suffer from a good bit of flaws, but nonetheless it is worth watching.