Loosely based on a true story, Pain & Gain tells the story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg), Paul Doyle (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) and Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and their plans to get rich. Michael Bay took a true story of “The American Dream” gone wrong and turned it into a very dark, comedic action/slash ‘em up movie.
Daniel Lugo believed in two things, fitness and that if you work hard enough at something, it will be given to you. In 1994, things went wrong for Lugo and his dream.
Lugo met Victory Kershaw, a half-jewish, half-columbian self-made man. Kershaw spent time training with Lugo, who was a personal trainer at Sun Gym, and told him about how he made his money. That was when Lugo and his coworker Doorbal came up with the idea to kidnap Kershaw and take all his money.
Snatch and grab job, easy. Not quite.
Lugo and Doorbal didn’t go it alone. They met Doyle after he applied for a job at the gym and brought him into the plan. But first they had to capture Kershaw, which took a few attempts.
In real life, Lugo wasn’t a complete moron like the movie portrays but it pushes the story along. But back to the plot.
Kershaw broke after a week or so and signed away his money. Tying up loose ends, the gang took Kershaw to an abandoned area to make his murder look accidental. After crashing him into film developing booth and a backhoe, hitting him with a car and then rolling over his head with the tire, Kershaw survived.
(Surprisingly those are the only explosions in the movie.)
So Lugo, Doyle and Doorbal lived like kings… until their money ran out. Doyle blew most of the money on, well, blow. Doorbal had a wedding and bought a house to exhaust his cash pile. So it was time to pull another job.
Frank Griga was a millionaire who made his money on phone-sex and porn, which might explain Krisztina Furton, his 23-year-old exotic dancer/girlfriend.
Much like Marty McFly, Lugo couldn’t handle people calling him names. Instead of chicken, Lugo’s key word was amateur. Lugo knocked Griga to the floor, whose head was then flattened by falling weights. Doorbal injected Furton with enough horse tranquilizers to put down The Rock.
That is when things went from ‘out of control’ to ‘f*cking psychotic.’
Lugo and Doorbal dumped the bodies (Doyle ran away) but they didn’t have much time to take a breather.
Kershaw had gone to the cops and convinced them to arrest Lugo, Doorbal and Doyle. Doyle confessed and was given 15 years in prison. Lugo and Doorbal were sentenced to death.
This movie is horrifying. Not because it’s scary that there are people that have actually done these things, but because of how it portrays these characters and actions.
I am no stranger to the dark comedies or black humor but this movie crossed a few lines.
There was a level of ignorance that this movie held. Bay said that it was a true story but all of the survivors of the event came out against the movie.
I don’t mind blood and gore when it is done in certain ways. But this movie had a serious tone at times that was overshadowed by stupidity and sheer idiocy. While those tactics may be funny in scenes like the planning and kidnapping, they are less effective when people’s lives are being taken and cruel means of disposal are being utilized.
On another note, we should talk about the acting.
Pain and Gain brought in Marky-Mark and The Rock, not necessarily known for their acting abilities. I know that Wahlberg was in movies like Boogie Nights and The Fighter but he is not in my top 50 for top actors. And The Rock isn’t even an actor. Don’t get me started on the Fast and Furious series.
But this movie was really relying on a good story, script, music and camera work (or just about everything else) to save this movie. But Bay didn’t deliver any of that.
The loosely based true story is crap. I had hopes for the script since it was written by the same guys that did Captain America, Thor and The Avengers until I remembered that there is almost no substantial dialogue in those movies.
The music and camera work didn’t really matter since they were as rudimentary as one can get. Bay used a lot of slow motion in this movie but it didn’t do much as there wasn’t a lot of fighting or action slow (except for this shot).
This movie tried too hard to be The Wolf of Wall Street and instead lost itself in the process, not unlike Lugo and Doorbal.
I never thought that I would say this, but I think Bay should go back to making Transformers films and leave the true stories and bio pics to other directors.
(The only reason it was above 4.0 was because of Bar Paly.)
*Images rom IMDB