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on July 9, 2014
Anything staring Dwayne Johnson and/or directed by Michael Bay is usually going to be high on the "insult your intelligence" scale. But by either dumb luck or skill (or maybe by staying close to the true story) this film turned out to be a dark comedy masterpiece - in my humble opinion!
From one scene to the next I was both shocked by the gruesome horror of what was happening (knowing it's a true story) and laughing my [butt] off, at the same time! All the main actors were able to sell the callously brutal, yet amazing stupid characters that they were portraying.
The supporting actors (Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris, etc.) were superb (or maybe superbly directed???).
If you've got a dark, sarcastic sense of humor, like me - I highly recommend this film. If you don't have that kind of a sense of humor, you might be over-whelmed by the gory-ness of some scenes, and generally come away from the movie with a very negative feeling. If that's the case, you should develop a sense of humor like mine!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon October 3, 2013
Updated: This was really based on a true story... Google it, you will be amazed.

I judge a movie by how much I want to see the conclusion when I'm about halfway through it, and Pain & Gain was a movie I was interested to see how it ended and what was its point. I'm somebody who likes comedies and funny banter but I also like character development. One thing I liked about this movie the most was how the voiceovers switched between the different characters and it wasn't just one person doing the majority of the voiceovers.

And I think The Rock did a decent job as the stand-in Jesus freak. I've a hard time watching him in movies for some reason but in this one it was okay. If you're a fan of Mark Wahlberg and figure enjoy this movie thoroughly.
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on May 5, 2013
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 April 25, 2013
Pain & Gain (2013)- Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Rebel Wilson, Ed Harris, Tony Shalhoub, Ken Jeong

Premise: Danny Lugo (Wahlberg) is a body builder who is sick of being poor. With his friend, Adrian (Mackie), and an ex-con (Johnson), Danny decides to rob a spoiled and egotistical businessman named Victor Kershaw (Shalhoub). After seemingly succeeding, Kershaw turns to a private investigator (Harris) to recover his finances and deal with the trio...But everything gets out of hand quickly.

Thoughts: This is a Michael Bay film. As such, it matches his general off-kilter aesthetics and love of the "BOOM, BANG, BOOM". That said, this is different from his most recent endeavors (i.e. the Transformers) in that it is exceedingly more violent. However, the cast give morbidly entertaining performances which quickly helped make this a much more enjoyable film. Visually intense, dark and even surprisingly violent at times - the film is an enjoyable dark "R" comedy.

Should you buy it: This comes down to a matter of taste. Do you regularly enjoy Michael Bay films? Then yes, this is a pretty good purchase. I intend to buy it on Bluray since I found it to be quite enjoyable despite the dark content. Unwilling to commit? Rent away!
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on May 15, 2015
I was interested in seeing this movie from the first time I ever saw the film trailer for 3 reasons: 1) I've been a fan of Mark Wahlberg since before he became an actor; 2) I'm a fan of Dwayne Johnson, & it has nothing to do with acting; 3) I'm a fan of true crime. Unfortunately for me, I had already seen a 48 Hours story on this where they interviewed the surviving victim soon after the movie release, and I also did research on the crime and the perpetrators. Why is this unfortunate? Because even though you know Hollywood is going to make a story a little flashier, they failed in a few aspects. The 3 guys in this movie (there were actually between 5-9 depending on the point in time) were complete imbeciles. According to investigators, none of them actually were, especially not Daniel Lugo. But them being portrayed that way in the movie had me shaking my head because their actions, statements, & behaviors were most often so idiotic all I could do was either cringe or laugh and shake my head. They also portrayed Adrian as somewhat timid and not being much involved in the violence, when in reality he was the most violent & was the one who actually killed Frank Griga, and no, it wasn't an accident. I know this all seems like semantics, but I guess my point is they made it seem like these guys got caught because they were absolute, utter morons. No, they were just sloppy and greedy. But so much time was spent on making them brainless that it actually sort of came off as bad acting. Also, the real story was still so unbelievably crazy that they could've kept it exactly the way that it was and it probably would've turned out better. I read that the movie was done this way as to make the criminals more sympathetic. Why? They were actually horrible people. Not to mention that the movie left out and/or changed a lot of the actual events, including the fact that the Rock's character didn't exist (his character was an amalgamation of 3 people). Overall, I was rather disappointed.
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on September 5, 2013
The synopsis on the back of the blu-ray case states "Michael Bay's hilarious action comedy, Pain and Gain is Goodfellas on Steriods", HUH!?!?!?!?! First, there is NOTHING at all hilarious about this movie and it is a stretch even calling it a comedy. There is very little to like about this movie, the three main characters (The Rock, Mackie and Markie Mark) are totally unlikable moronic meatheads and you spend the whole movie hoping they get caught, the victim (Shalhoub) is totally unlikable and you're sort of glad he is victimized, the ex-cop/investigator (Harris) is totally unlikable and the eye candy bimbo (Paly) while very hot can't act and is ridiculously unlikable as well. It's a movie where you basically dislike every character in it. There is an occasional humorous moment (like blindfolding Shalhoub with womens panty liners) but they are extremely rare. It's a typical Michael Bay movie, way too heavy on the color, silly close ups and shoddy direction.

There is nothing to like about this movie, in fact I found the best part to be the ending credits when they actually showed pictures of the real gang (there were more than three and the Rock's movie character is a fictionalized conglomerate of a bunch of actual people) and their victims.

It's not funny, it's not interesting, there are ZERO extras with the blu-ray and I am sorry I paid for it.
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on November 8, 2014
The movie was great. The story was great to learn and the locations were REAL Miami with a little face list. I remember when I first passed by the gym scenes location and thinking "whoa! They turned that into a gym?! That's crazy and awesome!" But later learned it was just Bay shooting a movie in my neighborhood. My favorite scene is when Tony Shalhoub is in the hospital and the guy across his goes to the bathroom! LMFAO The face on that guy and the effects when he walks out are just amazing. There are a lot of sweet little moments like that which just makes you LOL out of no where in this otherwise gritty Miami (Crazy True) Story.
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on June 9, 2015
You have a small brain, you spent your time lifting weights instead of reading books, now you want to become successful. So these muscle men decide to start stealing. It's not unlike what the government is doing now. The war trains the soldiers, they come back as police officers to enforce what the judge says (making it legal). This movie shows how gym trainers who want their piece of the pie take advantage of some successful gym member.
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on May 1, 2015
Wahlberg and Johnson are very excellent characters and deserve better than this movie. The story line was poor and they made the characters to act moronic. It would have been a great film if they cut out all the stupidity in their characters. I gave it 3 stars for the characters and not for the movie, I would not recommend the movie.
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on November 15, 2014
I've seen this movie 3 times and I'm about to watch it again, it's inspirational but not in a direct way; it inspires you to get an education so you don't wind up like these guys. Based on a true story with much of the crazy details being kept in I found it fascinating, amusing and even inspiring to what lengths some people will go to achieve certain ends. It's brilliantly done and if you even remotely like Wahlberg or Johnson you will enjoy this film, enjoy the ride ^_^
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