Gavin Miller reviews Pain & Gain (15)
Even with the solid acting duo of Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson on board, Bay’s long-term based-on-a-true story ‘pet project’ about a botched kidnapping by a trio of gym enthusiasts turns into a bit of a mess.
The premise is pretty decent as Wahlberg stars as pumped-up instructor Danny Lugo in early 1990s Miami, who – in pursuit of the ‘American dream’ – enlists the help of fellow gym junkies Paul Doyle (Johnson) and Adrian Doorbal (The Hurt Locker’s Anthony Mackie) to kidnap one of his millionaire clients, Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub).
But with private investigator Ed Dubois (Ed Harris) on their tails, things don’t quite go to plan.
Several innocent people get caught in the crossfire as the story unfolds – forsaking a possibly intelligent script and potential satire for an over-stylised plot and sometimes unnecessarily gratuitous violence.
It’s not completely without merit, with a few decent set-pieces and one great comedy scene with ‘get rich quick’ guru Jonny Wu (The Hangover’s Ken Jeong).
But sadly the talents of Wahlberg and Johnson are hampered by a disjointed screenplay.
He’s done some good stuff – Bad Boys, The Rock and Armageddon – and some pretty awful stuff – Transformers 2 & 3 and The Island – but sadly this docks at the latter end of Bay’s CV, with plenty of pain, and not much gain.