I am pretty certain that the reigning king of action films is Jason Statham. But more and more, I am beginning to think that Dwayne Johnson should join Statham on that throne. What started with schlock years ago with films like The Scorpion King quickly morphed into fun action romps like The Rundown and Walking Tall, and then turned versatile with turns in Be Cool, Southland Tales and The Game Plan. But when The Rock then turned out a few action nasties like Faster and joined a successful franchise with Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6, he cemented his place as an action icon with the best of them. His latest film keeps the action quotient high while portraying an insane true story.
Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) is a Miami bodybuilder with big dreams. Unfortunately he is not the brightest bulb on the tree and decides the only way to achieve the life he wants is to take it. Enlisting the help of fellow bodybuilders Adrian (Anthony Mackie) and hardcore Christian and recovering addict Paul (Dwayne Johnson), Daniel formulates a plan to kidnap a rich businessman and force him to sign his life over to them. When their plan doesn’t work out quite as planned, they unfortunately wing it with disastrous results.
Pain & Gain is one of those stories that is so outrageous, it just has to be true. These 3 bodybuilders are so thick it is hard to believe they pulled anything off at all. Michael Bay’s direction is full of his signature style, lots of slow mo and slickness with a sheen that is trademark Bay. Many people may find that disappointing, but that is exactly what I want from a Bay film. Wahlberg, Johnson and Mackie are all fantastic in the roles of the dimwit muscleheads, with Johnson turning in quite the edgy performance as the reborn Paul. His role varies from goodie two shoes to coke sniffing maniac in one movie and it is spectacular. And Wahlberg is a true master of playing dumb. His performance here is gold. The supporting cast are all great as well and the story makes for one fascinating true to life adventure.
The Blu-ray from Paramount is precisely what a Michael Bay movie should be in hi def: perfection. The high gloss bright daylight filled film is stunning on Blu-ray with perfect contrast colors, razor sharp clarity and detail and house rocking audio. This is a slick, polished and mind blowing transfer of a fun as hell film. Highly recommended for a little bit of everything, action, suspense, drama, and laughs.
Available August 27, 2013 on Blu-ray and DVD.