Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pain & Gain

I have been looking forward to this movie for months. After seeing the debut trailer with "Thrift Shop" playing in the background , I was hooked. The combination of Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was enough to get me to see the movie without really knowing anything about it. But the one factor that had be nervous was the fact that Michael Bay was going to be directing. He might have random explosions happen in a tense dramatic scene or Bumblebee could walk on screen for no reason. You can just never really tell with Bay. 

Pain & Gain tells the real life stories of Daniel Lugo, Adrian Doorbal, and Paul Doyle as they plan and execute several kidnappings in order to get rich quick. Lugo is a down on his luck personal trainer, who wants to have all the things that his rich clients have. He convinces his friends, Adrian (Mackie) and Paul (The Rock), to aid him in his schemes and they have mixed results to say the least. But the real test comes when they get what they want and then get a little too greedy for their own good.

The first thing that I have to mention is the performance of The Rock, he was simply incredible in his role. He was funny, charismatic, and menacing at times.  He is usually thrown into the tough guy roles and people forget how hilarious he can be. He has some scenes that had the entire theater laughing out loud and was the most entertaining part of the movie from start to finish.  We need more of this from The Rock and less of the performances he gives in movies such as Faster and Snitch. The rest of the cast was pretty solid but no one really stood out like The Rock did. Wahlberg was as solid as ever and Rebel Wilson provided some great comic relief.  

There is no real "good guy" in the movie until halfway through when Ed Harris' character is introduced. He seems to be the only one who can tell that the 3 main characters are full of shit and really have no clue what they are doing. His character was a great foil to the three dumbasses and once he got their scent it was only a matter of time before he would catch them. He plays a vital supporting role and his performance reminded me how solid of an actor he is. But he has been great in past Michael Bay movie such as The Rock. 

The one thing that I feel the viewer forgets about this movie is that two of the three main characters are pretty shitty human beings. Doorbal and Lugo have no real redeeming values and are selfishly out for themselves at every turn. The only reason Lugo does good for his community is so he can hold onto the things that he stole. Doyle is tricked into the scheme and then realizes he can't bail because he is in too deep. It was shittly people ripping off shitty people. The humor and slick looks of the main actors masks the fact that all of the guys the characters are based on were in jail or are currently on death row. 

Michael Bay also realized that he had to reign in his "Michael Bay-ness" and actually try and get solid performances from his cast without the use of CG and explosions. To his credit he was successful in this endeavor and I really hope he opts to do smaller movies like this in the future. His smaller films such as Pain & Gain and The Island were great movies while all of his other efforts were mediocre at best.

This is Michael Bay's best effort to date and you should really take the time to see it. The Rock's performance alone is worth the price of admission. This was one hell of a way to kick off the summer movie season. If Bay can keep turning out movies of this quality, it would go a long way to repairing his reputation. but then again he is making Transformers 4, so any hope of another movie from him of this quality is a longshot.