“Unfortunately, this is a true story.”
This is how the new Michael Bay movie, “Pain & Gain” begins. Body builders, money launderers, murderers and more are featured in Bay’s new film. Throughout the entire movie, it is important to keep reminding yourself that everything you are seeing actually happened.
The film begins telling the story of power lifter Danny Lugo. Lugo, played by Mark Wahlberg, is the kind of guy that never had the life he wanted. He worked for everything he had, but it still was not enough for him.
As a man obsessed with his body, Lugo works as a personal trainer at one of the best gyms in Florida. Then, he met one client changed who his life. Victor Kershaw, played by Tony Shalhoub, had the life Lugo wanted. Kershaw also happened to be the biggest jerk in all of Florida.
Logically, Lugo comes up with the plan, “to find someone with money, make him hand it over, and improve the world while doing it.”
Lugo and his team, fellow power lifters Adrian Doorbal and Paul Doyle (played by Anthony Mackie and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) followed through with their plans to torture Kershaw – so he signs over all of his money and the trio sets out to live the lives that they “deserved.” Because the transaction has Kershaw’s signature, it was completely legal. Lugo, Doorbal and Doyle were all rich. Until Kershaw fought back.
For those considering this movie, be warned. It is rated “R” for a reason. For example, the headquarters of Lugo’s plans are in a warehouse holding nothing but sex toys.
There is a high use of profanity, along with drug and alcohol use. Johnson’s character, Paul Doyle, is a Jesus-loving cocaine addict who balances his desire to please God with snorting coke.
“Pain & Gain” is a whirlwind of a movie. It’s easy to think of the film as a dark comedy until you remember that it is supposedly all true. Danny Lugo, Adrian Doorbal, Paul Doyle and Victor Kershaw are all real people. During the credits, photographs of the real people are shown side-by-side with the actors who were portraying them.
While watching, half of me wanted to laugh and the other wanted to cry.
Mark Wahlberg is the perfect choice for Danny Lugo as the down-on-his-luck dreamer, matching the roles he played in movies such as “Ted” and “The Other Guys.”
As a low budget film, director Michael Bay could not bring out the massive explosions and CGI that we are used to seeing in his Transformers series. Instead, Bay brought it back to basics to deliver an entertaining film.