REVIEW: Pain and Gain fails despite star names

Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg
Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg

Gavin Miller casts his eye over Michael Bay’s Pan and Gain (15)...

Even with the solid duo of Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, Bay’s 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 nineties Miami, who – in pursuit of the ‘American dream’ – enlists the help of gym junkies Paul Doyle (Johnson) and Adrian Doorbal (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 and several innocent people get caught in the crossfire – 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 (Ken Jeong) – but sadly the talents of Wahlberg and Johnson are hampered by a disjointed screenplay.

He’s done some good stuff and some pretty awful stuff but sadly this docks at the latter end of Bay’s CV with plenty of pain, and not much gain.