Full of great performances, and, sometimes, is amazingly compelling.
-Willie Waffle, WaffleMovies.com

an R-rated, steroid-fueled Looney Tunes cartoon
-Pete Hammond, 7M Pictures

This is the first movie directed by Michael Bay to not feature giant killer robots since 2005’s The Island. In fact, Pain & Gain is so different from Bay’s recent work that it has a total of just one explosion. Even though it still suffers from the disease of Cool Guys Don’t Look At Explosions, it’s probably a new personal record for him.

My name is Daniel Lugo, and I believe in fitness. All this began because it was time to push myself harder, otherwise I was looking at another forty years wearing sweatpants to work

If we are to believe the tagline, Pain & Gain isn’t just based on a true story, it IS a true story. That’s most likely a huge exaggeration but the movie is a lot of fun regardless. Castoonishly violent and mean-spirited, none of the brutality is taken too seriously here. It’s essentially a really slick and dark comedy about bad people doing bad things to other bad people in Miami.

No, man! We snatch him, we grab him, forge his signature, and our profit’s set! He won’t even know it happened! I’ve watched a lot of movies, I know what I’m doing…

Easily the smallest-scale film of Bay’s career, Pain & Gain doesn’t lack his typical sleazy style and expensive film-making technique. Still enamored with slow motion, Bay uses it to great comedic effect here, often hovering uncomfortably long on gnarled facial expressions or random scenes of brutal violence. Another one of Bay’s signature moves is to let the camera linger on pretty things like the excesses of luxury or beautifully toned bodies. As one can imagine, he has an absolute field day with a movie about body builders set on Miami Beach.

Nothing too consequential, Pain & Gain offers quite a few laughs and some decent action sequences. Michael Bay has a great eye for these types of films and it’s good to see him temporarily move on from the Transformers franchise. With a runtime of 2 hours and 10 minutes, it is on the long side and eventually becomes tiresome but if action movies are your thing, it’s worth a watch.

I’m hot! I’m big! Oh no! NO!

FilmFire review:
3.5/5 forms