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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 December 2013
Based on a true story & set in Miami 1994-5, life long body builder Daniel Lugo (Wahlberg) comes to a crossroads in his life, where he begins to question his lifestyle. As apart from a well toned, ripped body, he doesn't have much else to show for it. As a trainer in a gym, hearing about the success & lifestyle of one of his clients during workouts , Colombian entrepreneur Victor Kershaw (Shalhoub), he begins to want the American dream for himself. Brainwashed by motivational speaker Johnny Wu's (Jeong) mantra, "be a do'er, not a don'ter". But sadly hes dumb as a brick, so decides to take what Victor has, by force. Mayhem ensues.

Overall, the premise of the film looked good in text, exciting & the lead duo are known for enjoyable films, as the Bad Boys-esque DVD cover eludes too, what could go wrong ?! well, most of it really, as the serious material it's based on is taken down an ill advised comedy avenue in hindsight. The heart of the film was just about Mark Wahlberg's (Shooter) dumb body builder masterminding the abduction of Tony Shalhoub (Monk), with the help of a ridiculously OTT performance from Dwane Johnson (Fast & Furious) as a cocaine snorting devout Christian & Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) as an impotent steroid junkie. Who are like the three stooges when getting things done.

The first hour of the film is all about setting up the premise & getting the money, while the 2nd hour is all about they're downfall, where upon in the latter half the introduction of Ed Harris's (The Truman Show) retired cop/PI made the film better. His investigation into them made it more intelligent & interesting with it's more meaningful crime drama injection. The content itself is a bit mixed otherwise, with a range of silly, black & horror comedy, that is mildly amusing in places to be fair. But it is a crime drama at heart after all, and based on grisly true events. Director Micheal Bay brought the film through at a nice pace, albeit it felt too long at 2 hours, with some great cinematography with similar snap to it like his Bad Boys movies. Minus that winning combination infront of screen, in terms of the likable characters & chemistry. But don't get me wrong, the three leads are actors i really like & have enjoyed they're work immensely, but here, they are shoe horned into three very unlikable characters that's painful to watch at times.

In conclusion, Pain & Gain takes a questionable comedy approach to serious real life events, that doesn't naturally mix well. It's only when the film investigates the serious side of it's crime drama roots, that it showed more promise. IMO it would had made for a better straight up crime drama, then a comedy crime drama. Contains strong language & graphic violence. Worth a watch.
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on 14 January 2015
Wahlberg and Johnson, what's not to like! A lot of controversy about this film, but I don't think they make light of the deaths of those people. It's quite dark and gory in places, and you kind of feel sorry for Johnson's character but his character doesn't actually exist in real life, rather he is a conglomerate of several people. I think you have to remember that its just a movie and that the real people who committed the crimes were sick and very stupid and were given the death penalty. I think it's an interesting take on a real life story.
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on 30 September 2014
This story is brilliant marvellous actors on the front line there is no way this movie is going to be boring, Action and comedy mixed together what more do you want. Now two trainers want more than they have got and that's the American dream. Somewhere down the track they get caught up with the criminal enterprise that goes astray, Now with that bit of intelligence there can only be a lot of mistakes along the way. I rated this an A grade plus for the fast paced and fresh ideas that come to light in this movie based on what really happened. The action is great and a touch of comedy that will have you tied up in stitches. Time for your feet up popcorn in hand, try to relax in front of the television with a fabulous movie that will have you sitting upright, taking note of everything going on from beginning to end. Highly recommended and no disappointments, now you can see for yourself and be a judge. Enjoy!
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This is a true story that reads like dumb crook news. Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) is a muscle headed body builder who is inspired in ironic fashion by unorthodox motivational speaker Johnny Wu (Ken Jeong). With the aid of two other body builders, Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) and Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) they devise a plan to kidnap and extort money from Colombian businessman Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub).

They fumble their way through the operation and become greedy. It is clear these guys were not bright. The writers created dialouge for these crooks in order to lighten the story and to keep them from looking like complete idiots. Fictional aspects such as making the nurse (Rebel Wilson) look heavy-set with portraying Doorbal as liking those type of women kept the story from becoming dry.

The beginning of the film demonstrates some humor as Danny names fictional characters as his heroes..."There are no shortcuts to the American dream" he proclaims. In spite of the efforts made by the writers, the film somehow loses its hook and charm as you wait for it to end.

Parental Guide: F-bombs, sex, and nudity. Porn star Nikki Benz is one of the unnamed strippers.
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on 29 November 2014
Unbelievable true story about the Sun Gym Gang of bodybuilders who kidnapped, tortured and murdered victims in a get rich quick scheme. I was really not expecting much when I sat down to watch this but was more than pleasantly surprised. All in all a fascinating story well told in a dark and humorous manner topped off by what has got to be The Rocks best performance since he was going head to head with Stone Cold Steve Austin.
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on 9 June 2015
Bought this film not really knowing or understanding too much about it but really enjoyed it! Wasn't quite what I expected but was great watching it all the same.. Some funny parts in it and The Rock was great!
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on 24 November 2014
Based on a true story - with obvious details changed for the sake of drama/hilarity. It seemed so far fetch but I guess guys who are desperate to be better, will do anything. Great acting all around - quite funny to see the Dwayne lose his cool for once. 4/5.
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VINE VOICEon 5 May 2013
Based around true events - though one would guess with Michael Bay (Bad Boys, Transformers) as director there is some possibility of a lot of artistic licence, this thriller comedy revolves around a trio of weightlifters that kidnap a rich Miami business man, torture him and fleece him out of all his assets.

Sadly they are quite incompetent and rather than kill him, he survives his torture ordeal and all hell breaks loose as they try to hang on to the money, cover the crime and keep a snooping detective off the trail of the crime, meanwhile getting into more and more strange scrapes as the death toll around them rises.

The usual Michael Bay flashy style is there, full of bright Miami sunshine, lots of slow motion action, bad language, violence, crude jokes and scantily clad women.

What lifts this above much of his other work, is the fact the story is so far fetched, that it has to have some very dark comedy to carry it, and it works well.

The cast lead by Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson turn in some great performances, and the story breezes along on excessive charm.

The line that fact is stranger than fiction is very true, as if half of what takes place in this movie is anywhere near true these wannabe criminal playboys were idiots.

A morality tale, of trying to chase the American dream at whatever cost, and the fun of watching there downfall, it's very reminiscent in story arc of other criminal thrillers like Al Pacino's Scarface, but lighter in tone due to the comedy aspect.

This is full of style with a great soundtrack, and proves the director is perhaps better working with low budgets and his actors, rather than overblown CGI robot movies.
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on 3 January 2014
This movie can be a bit difficult to follow, but the great thing is you actually see the pictures of the real criminals at the end, who committed these crimes. Love the way the actors portrait the criminals and there are a few laughs there as well.
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on 8 February 2014
Thought film was okay but didnt realize it was comedy when i orderd it.The main charactors seem a little out of there normal comfort zone ,its a friday night film after a few beers nothing to look forward too.
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