PAIN & GAIN: THE REVIEW

It’s been a while but Salty Kernel, Adam Shearsby, jumps back in the saddle and heads to a screening of PAIN & GAIN. This film releases today, runs for a big 129mins and is rated MA15+.

As I walked into Pain & Gain, my expectations weren’t sky high. I was interested, but I had my reservations. This was largely due to Michael Bay’s previous films and his developing trend of style over substance. Pain & Gain revolves around “the true story of a group of personal trainers in 1990s Miami who, in pursuit of the American Dream, get caught up in a criminal enterprise that goes horribly wrong”.

 

Michael Bay, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Scott Rosenber, Pain & Gain, Adam Shearsby, Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, Rob Corddry, Tony Shalhoub, Bar Paly, Rebel Wilson, Ken Jeong, Yolanthe Cabau
PAIN & GAIN – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

The story as a whole was entertaining. It’s a solid mix of action, darker comedy and the odd bit of story progression here and there. It’s a fun movie to watch, however scenes tend to get drawn out a bit, in particular the torture scene. I get that it was a crucial part of the story, but if you’ve seen the trailer, you know that they’re eventually going to “acquire” the assets. As a result of this, I was clock watching a few times, however, it began to pick up again towards the end.

The leading men’s performances are varied, each with their own strong points and individualities to really build a diverse team. Walhberg, Johnson and Mackie all have their funny moments, and Wahlberg served well as the charismatic and delusional fearless leader. Johnson was downright hilarious at times, playing a criminal, turned Christian, turned Christian criminal. The less said about Johnson the better. Mackie does well as the side kick, but he was ultimately that: the side kick, overshadowed by Wahlberg and Johnson. Ed Harris’s performance was standard, albeit showing his age a little bit. There’s something to like in every character, although at the same time, there’s something you don’t like or you find questionable. This helps to keep you interested, but removed and not too attached at the same time.

 

Michael Bay, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Scott Rosenber, Pain & Gain, Adam Shearsby, Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, Rob Corddry, Tony Shalhoub, Bar Paly, Rebel Wilson, Ken Jeong, Yolanthe Cabau
PAIN & GAIN – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

There was an overarching satire and social commentary on the American Dream. However, it seemed more of an afterthought to violence, ripped guys, hot chicks and lavish lifestyles. While I’m fine with social commentary and the above (or a combination of both): commit to it and don’t leave it underdone.

The cinematography was a little hit and miss. There were a number of cool shots, with one 360 degree rotating scene through a house being particularly impressive. However, Bay tended to rely heavily on low to high shots, seemingly trying to highlight how powerful, big and strong his leading men were. They’re huge, we get it. You don’t need to shower us with low shots to highlight that, it’s quite obvious.

 

Michael Bay, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Scott Rosenber, Pain & Gain, Adam Shearsby, Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, Rob Corddry, Tony Shalhoub, Bar Paly, Rebel Wilson, Ken Jeong, Yolanthe Cabau
PAIN & GAIN – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

One other thing struck me as quite odd. The Miami Dade Police seemed to have a serious disregard for human life. I’m not sure if it’s common practice to shoot first and ask questions later, but the cops in this movie were experts at it. Oh look, he’s run into a restaurant/hairdresser/whatever filled with civilians: empty all the bullets we have into that building and we’ll sort it out later. It’s not like he was armed, or that far away from you, or a threat to anyone; but I guess it would be easier than running. Nevertheless, it was thrilling to watch.

All in all, if you’re after an entertaining, humorous and at times exciting large popcorn  Bay movie; you wont be disappointed by Pain & Gain: just don’t expect anything more.

 

3 Pops