Pain & Gain

Their American Dream Is Bigger Than Yours.

images (7)Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo, a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He wants to have the money and live like the others around him instead of wearing sweat pants to work every day for the next 20 years. Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a personal trainer at Sun Gym enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, ex-coke head, newly Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) for a kidnapping and extortion scheme involving one of Daniel Lugo’s clients Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub). But when things start to go wrong they try to do everything in their power to hold onto the elusive American dream.

As many of my friends will tell you this is a film I’ve been waiting for, since I first heard about it I was intrigued and really couldn’t wait to see it. Also it didn’t help that it had Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg, two actors who I’m big fans of.

Honestly the film could have been done as a straight up drama film however I feel that the dark comedy approach was a good idea. And that is what this is it’s a dark comedy, admittedly some of my friends were put off from seeing it because they thought it was a comedy from the trailer and admittedly it did look like one.

Before I go any further with the review I want to say that this film is based on a true story, which is hard to believe because there are some really weird and ridiculous things in the film.

Michael Bay had been wanting to make this film since 2000 however he delayed it in favour of the “Transformers” series. He actually specifically said he wanted to make a small inexpensive film as a change of pace. Pain & Gain is his first movie which is rated “R” since “Bad Boys 2” and with that being said when you watch the film you will notice some of the same cinematograph that was used in “Bad Boys 2”.

Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie, Dwayne Johnson, Ed Harris and Tony Shalhoub give some pretty brilliant performances. Dwayne Johnson was brilliant as the ex-convict, ex-coke head, newly Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle and I hope we see him do some more movies like this, don’t get me wrong so far he’s been doing some great films, and this year he’s been busy with the release of “Snitch”, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”, “Fast & Furious 6” and another film later this month “Empire State” (Empire State review coming soon), But I must say one of his most memorable roles for me was Elliot Wilhelm the gay/struggling actor/gangster in 2005’s “Be Cool”. Mark Wahlberg has also been quite busy with the releases of “Broken City”, “2 Guns” and another one later in the year “Lone Survivor”.

As a guy who knows how much discipline and hard work is put into getting a good body or certain look I really respect Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie and Dwayne Johnson.

Mark Wahlberg bulked up to 212 pounds for his role as Daniel Lugo, now Mark is no stranger to getting in shape for a film but something I really thought was good was the fact that he made his own line of body-building products while bulking up for his movie, and you can actually buy his supplements now, their called “MARKED Nutrition”, also another insane fact about how He bulked up for the role is he ate a whopping 10 meals a day! He said he was eating even when he was full.

Dwayne Johnson another guy who is no stranger to fitness bulked up to nearly 300 pounds for his role as Paul Doyle, and in the film he does look like a beast!

Anthony Mackie put on 17 pounds of muscle for the role in 3 weeks and bulked up to 213 pounds.

The film as a whole is a very good film it is entertained and factual, like I said it is based on a true story and there will be parts in the film where you think there is no way that’s real. The narrative and cinematography is good, and the performances were brilliant in my opinion, not to mention the amount of hard work and dedication that was put in just to look the part by the actors. I was looking forward to this film a lot and I wasn’t disappointed. Pain & Gain had a budget of 20 million which is Michael Bays lowest budgeted film since 1995’s “Bad Boys”.

Rating 8/10

By Fiaz Ali

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