Pain and Gain (Cert.15)

Pain & Gain (2013)

Dir.: Michael Bay | Cast: Mark Wahlberg; Dwayne Johnson; Anthony Mackie

Pain & Gain (2013) is the new summer blockbuster from Transformers director, Michael Bay that tells the outrageous true story of the American gangster, Daniel Lugo. The film is a satirical action comedy movie which preys on the ‘American dream’ ideology. Playing host to hilarious conventions of American life, Bay brings his explosive background to create this action packed spectacle.

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The film follows the story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) and his desire for the opulent lifestyle of the wealthy populus in Miami. Working at Sun City gym and grafting everyday he becomes agitated as he sees the people around him driving in luxury cars and wearing $10,000 watches. This desire pushes him to the life of crime as he plans to kidnap Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), a Sun City gym member and well-know businessman with dodgy attachments. With the help of born-again Christian, Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson), who has just been released from a term in prison, and fellow Sun City co-worker Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) they plan and execute the kidnapping which leads to the extortion of Kershaw’s personal possessions. The story is fascinating and the unbelievable truth behind the narrative is almost inconceivable.


Wahlberg’s performance as Daniel Lugo is fantastic. He has evidently got bigger for the role and although he was never known for his comedy his recent performance in Ted (2012) has illuminated his hilarious dry humour that shines in Pain & Gain. Alongside ex-wrestler-turned actor, Dwayne Johnson they match up wonderfully as Johnson’s emotions are a complete contradiction compared to his muscular physique. Johnson, who plays the hilarious part-time Christian, part-time gangster Paul Doyle only compliments the wonderful performance by Wahlberg, and with Anthony Mackie making up the trio it’s a hilarious comedy of errors among the three stooges.

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Pain & Gain is fantastic fun. Funny, explosive and sexy it is everything Bay’s, Transformer’s wasn’t. Bay allowed for pure escapism in a film based on a true story which is a mean feat. However, this may have been helped by the unbelievable story of Daniel Lugo and co. With a comical cameo from The Hangover’s, Ken Jeong (Mr Chow) and Wahlberg’s comedy, the film is not only an action-packed blockbuster but a film that was surprisingly funny. I would recommend this film to any cinema-goer up for a laugh and an unusual insight into one of the most amazing and ludicrous stories in criminal history.

4.5 out of 5.

About Jack Miller

Film fanatic from Bedfordshire. I'm a big fan of social realism and anything by Shane Meadows! Enjoy dramas, thrillers & comedy and my favourite actor is DiCaprio. Keeps up to date with most sports and I'm an avid Leeds United fan forever being disappointed.

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