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Pain & Gain

Directed by Michael Bay
Starring  Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie 

I'll start this by saying I'm not the biggest Michael Bay fan in the world. I don't have anything against the man. I've never met him but I've seen most of his films. I find most of his work to be pretty to look at but not very satisfying. The Rock and The Island are exceptions, I unabashedly love The Rock and I enjoyed the hell out of The Island. Why take time out of a review to tell you what I think of a film makers earlier work? Context. I want you the reader to understand that I don't hate or love Michael Bay films, I'm somewhere in the middle. With all that being said, I loved Pain & Gain. This is by far my favorite Michael Bay film to date.

Pain & Gain is based on a series of articles that originally appeared in the Miami New Times. Daniel Lugo (Wahlberg) is an ex-convict who has aspirations of being a great man, strike that a great American. Lugo is a personal trainer who fancies himself to be an intellectual and entrepreneur the only problem is he's neither. Daniel Lugo is a man who wants the American dream but is too lazy and dim witted to achieve it. That's why he goes to self help seminars and cooks up get rich quick schemes. Paul Doyle (Johnson) is a born again Christian body builder with a checkered past that includes violence and drug addiction. 

This film is actually serviced by Michael Bays over the top style. The film is so absurd and outlandish that at one point the film stops to remind you that what you that what you are watching is based on a true story. Does it have slow motion? Of course. American flags? You know it does. Strip Clubs? This is a Michael Bay movie and he can't seem to make movie without at least one scene in a strip club. The main difference is that all these things are being played for comedic effect. The American flags and patriotism are played as punchlines. At one point Daniel Lugo says "I have no sympathy for people who squander their gifts. Its sickening. Its worse than sickening. Its unpatriotic." During the strip club scene Adrian Dorbal (Mackie) describes the benefits of drinking breast milk, its like "natural HGH."

Pain & Gain tells the true story of how a couple of moronic body-builders who attempted to kidnap and extort their way to financial independence and social status. This is the most comedic Michael Bay has been since Bad Boys and he is far more successful this time around. While both Bad Boys films were wildly successful films from a box-office standpoint neither of the films resonated with me and Pain & Gain is simply a better film. 

Watch Pain & Gain its a hell of a good time and its streaming on Netflix

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