Pain & Gain (2013) Review

director: Michael Bay

writers:  Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely

starring: Mark Whalberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie and

genre: Comedy | Crime

released:  April 26, 2013 (U.S.), August 22, 2013 (Germany)

based: on the magazine articles by Pete Collins

It's not everyday you hand out compliments to Michael Bay for making an entertaining and funny film. His directing talents are well suited to the material and the trio of Wahlberg, The Rock and Anthony Mackie are a sight to see in this black comedy crime film. Which at times is a bit offensive, but from the first second on should be taken with a grain of salt.


Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) had the dream of being somebody by doing something. That thing would be robbing a man of all his wealth and getting away with it squeaky clean. Accompanying him on this caper are his two accomplices also body builders Adrian (Anthony Mackie) & Paul (Dwayne Johnson) like Lugo himself. But even with their plan proving to be a success. They are too stupid to follow up on it and get themselves into more trouble then they were in before.


Michael Bay's style of directing and humor is suited to this kind of material. Over 18 crime flicks with a touch of black humor. Which he's already had a touch with the two "Bad Boys" films, but here he goes even further. The material of the dumb bodybuilders is a goldmine for him. Letting the actors have the time of their lives and overact their respective characters and situations to perverse and insane levels you won't believe until you see them.

Bay is known for his fast paced storytelling and within the film it works perfectly. Never feeling out of loop with the narrative, constantly being driven forward with Lugo's plans and with inclusion of multiple narrations of characters. There is the added insight to their motivations. That rounds out the story to a finer point. 

For all the good things about this film. It does still have the usual bad Michael Bay trademarks. Those thankfully aren't as noticeable due to the film's story, humor and characters being so well balanced. Especially it should be noted about this film that the running time is at appropriate level, there isn't that much of filler plot content and no unnecessary conventional action scenes. That all the "Transformers" films had under Bay's direction.

The elements that are still present are the double climax ending. That even though was close to the true story's conclusion wasn't needed and interfered with the films pacing and actually felt tacked on. Also the amount of homophobic jokes and the female characters being very stupid more the humanly imaginable. That's not to say that the men in this film weren't also feverishly dumb. Its just that the girl believing into the whole C.I.A. scam and the nurse talking dirty to the client were a little hard to believe.


Even though Michael Bay has been trashed his whole career and many times by myself included. You've got to give a man his dues when he does something good and in this film's case. Black humor, silly bad guys, outrageous situations and all under his loony hands. That's what I call a match made in heaven. 

Personal Rating: 

3.5 Stars.jpg

review by P K

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