Stop the presses! Michael Bay is making a movie that doesn’t involve Optimus or Megatron. I didn’t think the public allowed Bay to make movies outside of the Transformers franchise. I like to poke at Michael Bay, but the truth is once upon a time I enjoyed his films. Bad Boys and The Rock were great action films that got audiences excited. Then about half way through Armageddon, when Buscemi gets the space dementia, Bay went south in my opinion. This week, Bay returns to his roots with the R-rated crime thriller Pain and Gain starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson.
Pain and Gain is the true story of Miami body builder Daniel Lugo (Wahlberg) who gets sick of having nothing when he believes he deserves so much in life. Lugo recruits his best friend and fellow meat-head Adrian (Anthony Makie), as well as an ex-con named Paul (Dwayne Johnson). The trio of muscle-bound dummies decide to kidnap and extort an arrogant client of the gym named Victor Kershaw (Tony Shaloub). Let’s just say the plan doesn’t play out as intended and the lives of everyone involved spin violently out of control.
Oh Michael Bay… I should have know better than to trust you. I thought this ridiculous true story from the early 90s would be perfect for you. Instead Pain and Gain takes all aspects of Bay’s films that we have ridiculed over the past years and multiplies them by ten. Your typical camera pan from the feet to the sky is present throughout Pain and Gain. If you thought the slow motion shots were bad in Bay’s other films, then Pain and Gain will probably give you a stroke with its slow motion punches and drool splatter.
Michael Bay has always had problems with character development, but he takes it to another level or maybe I should say down in the gutter with Pain and Gain. I thought you couldn’t get worse than Mrs. Witwicky in Transformers, but Bay proved me wrong. Bay tries to take the “follow the bad guys” approach à la Pulp Fiction or The Devils Reject’s and fails miserably. There is not one redeeming quality in the wanna be gangster trio. Bay actually tries to glorify these three criminals and plays them as goofball jokesters, when in reality, they were a bunch of murderous, bumbling thugs. And don’t worry ladies because Mr. Bay makes sure the female characters are objectified in true Bay fashion. The supporting female characters of Pain and Gain are nothing more than sex crazed floozies who are just there to be arm candy.
Pain and Gain allows Michael Bay to make the over-the-top, no-holds-barred movie he always wanted to make and just as I expected, it’s awful. Bay proves that he has not grown as director and his sloppy film-making is still ever present. Quentin Tarantino, for example, has evolved from the bare bones filmmaker of his youth to a skillful director. Bay just seems to be happy recycling the same scenes again and again in his movies making him the most green director in Hollywood. I have one last word of advice for Mr. Bay, leave the laughs to the professionals and try not to make a real life story of three irredeemable murderers into a comedy. People tend to be turned off by stories that poke fun at death. Bravo Michael Bay! You’ve lived up to the “high” standards you set for yourself once again. Overall I give Pain and Gain 1 potato out of 4.
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