Pain & Gain

Yes, we hear your cries. This most recent entry in the Michael Bay canon does sit askew from the rest of the films in our year-end roundup — for how could the man who’s THE very representation of the modern Hollywood machine be considered overlooked? That’s it exactly, though: the surface fact that he’s made enough gargantuan CGI spectacles in a row to last a lifetime was the reason why a lot of movieheads still haven’t seen Pain & Gain — and in the process, they’ve missed out on a film that has as many laughs as Hot Fuzz, and as much rad, explosive razzmatazz as any old-school actioner like Speed or Lethal Weapon. No robots or Carl’s Jr. tie-ins here — just ‘roided-out, dumb hulks saying a rapid-fire stream of very funny things, and getting themselves tied up in an insane, barely-based-on-a-true-story plot of murder, extortion and other frothy stuff. Plus, the chemistry between co-stars Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, and Anthony Mackie is impeccable. It says something about the age we’re in that what might’ve been considered twenty years ago as “massive” and “stupid” comes off today as a relatively grounded character study — but make no mistake, this overheated blockbuster tastes not of Mountain Dew-flavored Doritos, but rather of the finest In ‘N Out Burger, animal-style.
Dir. Michael Bay, 2013, DCP, 129 min.

Watch the trailer for “Pain & Gain”!
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