Bay's Pain & Gain is an ugly film.
It's retraces a terrible case of kidnapping and torture, but
commercialises the crime by turning it into a comedy. The Transformers
director would argue he's satirising the American
Dream with this insane but true story of a bodybuilder who kidnapped a
and stole his entire lifestyle. In reality, this is third-rate
material. It is an
over-pumped imitation of Scarface but with Bay's
louder, dumber, crasser, and more offensive than the other two versions
cynical enough to pass its failings off as a reflection of its
exhaustingly basking in the very same excesses it wants to criticise.
resurfaces the Scarface story when
America is in economic strife. The best Scarface
movie is the 1932 film by Howard Hawks and Richard Rosson.
gangster Tony, who rose through the ranks of the mob by eliminating his
enemies, reflected the greed of the Great Depression era. The American
collapsed because of over-production, stagnant lower class wages,
excess and the fall of the stock market.
was remade by Brian De Palma in 1983 to further comment on greed and
new economic recession. President Ronald Reagan introduced
including the "trickle-down" theory. Corporations were given large
tax cuts so the wealthy would earn more and therefore spend more on
investments. This was meant to increase jobs and salaries for the lower
It was an economic disaster that only benefitted the wealthy. The gap
the rich and poor by 1989 was according to MSNBC the biggest since
Financial Crisis, Hollywood continues to see the bankability of Scarface. Another remake is due next
year. Despite being released now, Bay's film is adapted from a 1999
series in the Miami Times by Pete Collins. The film takes place between
October 1994 and June 1995, Mark Wahlberg plays Daniel Lugo, a personal
dissatisfied and jealous of his wealthy client Victor Kershaw (Tony
motivational seminar from Johnny Wu (Ken Jeong) encourages Daniel to
acting in life. He hires two men to help him kidnap Victor. The first
trainer Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie), who is being treated for
Robin (Rebel Wilson). The second man is Paul Doyle (Dwayne 'The Rock'
who has done time, but is now sober and has found religion. After
their way through the kidnapping, they torture Victor, forcing him to
his property. Also involved are Sorina (Bar Paly), an immigrant girl
told he is CIA, and Det. Ed DuBois (Ed Harris), a private investigator
comes out of retirement to pursue the group.
articles can be read online. It's surprising how much of the story is
true. There are compromises, like certain characters erased and details
Daniel's life drastically changed. What's more dispiriting is the
of this story and the tonal instability. The humour is broad, juvenile
unfunny, compounded by a mean-spiritedness that attacks people of all
sizes, genders and ages. Some scenes, including the dismemberment of a
so grotesque that I struggled to continue watching.
extract from Collins' article describes the real Victor's torture: "Now
learned quickly what being a prisoner of Lugo was like. For two hours
the electric lash of the taser gun, the explosion of punches, the
pistol-whippings. The men took his all-weather lighter and burned him
arms and chest." It's hard to see how any of these experienced actors,
none of whom are convincing, saw the funny side of this or the appeal
characters. Isn't it time Rebel Wilson was given a role where she can
more than just punch lines?
technical aspects remind us why Michael Bay is such an awful director.
actors are framed with titled camera shots for no particular reason and
frazzled pacing of the movie doesn't allow time for scenes to unfold.
no feel for any tension. The sunshine, swimsuits and cars of Miami are
with high colour saturation and an adolescent perverseness so that the
resembles a pop music video when it should be a critique of capitalist
Catchy but obvious song choices like Gangster's Paradise by Coolio
the film is about a man who wants too much and blindly thinks he can
America by cutting corners, then inspiration wasn't too far away. The
of this nasty, repellent film are as hypocritical as they sound.
should stop being a "do-er" and start being a "don't-er".