Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pain & Gain (2013) Spoiler-Free Review

The wife and I watched Pain & Gain over the weekend.  It was released in 2013 and stars Mark Wahlberg, The Rock, and Anthony Mackie (Falcon from Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier).  It's directed by Michael Bay.  The film was a heck of a lot of fun although uncomfortable to watch at times.  Here's the synopsis from IMDB:
A trio of bodybuilders in Florida get caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong.
When I first saw trailers for this I thought to myself, "That looks like Point Break with bodybuilders.  That's not really the case, but you could certainly give a 10 second description in that manner and it wouldn't be wrong exactly.  First, this is based on a true story which is kind of disturbing as you go through it.  Second, it's a good bit darker.  That being said it does have quite a bit of levity in it.  The Rock kills it as a conflicted Christian ex-con for example.  Wahlberg plays this kind of hammy, wide-eyed, over-the-top character with enough believability that you can totally buy that this guy exists.  Mackie is a kind of strange yet likable scumbag in the film too.  Really that's about the best way to describe the whole crew.  You kind of like the guys, you don't really root for them, but you don't hate them like you should. 

In general, the film kind of reminds me of Bully from 2001Bully, also based on a true, story had you pleading with the characters to stop the madness throughout.  It's like a runaway train that you just want to put the brakes on, but can't. Throughout this film there are so many times you just want this crew to stop what they're doing and go about their business in a different way.  It never happens, but you continually hope it will. 

This is one of those films that I'd like to highly recommend IF you are comfortable with a certain level of inappropriateness in a film.  It's not one that you're necessarily going to discuss at Sunday School.  Pain & Gain is a fun ride.

Pain & Gain is Rated R for bloody violence, crude sexual content, nudity, language throughout and drug use by the MPAA.