After blowing most of the world up in his ‘’Total Bayhem’’ carnage of the ‘Transformers’ films, Michael Bay returns to present a lower budgeted film of ‘PAIN AND GAIN’, based on a real life story about three bodybuilders trying to pursue the American Dream, by kidnapping a rich tycoon. Already getting hostel reactions from that of Mark Kermode the film as you would expect isn’t going to make critics top 10’s at the end of the year.
First things this looks beautiful. The colour palate, the vibrant imagery, and surprisingly good use of first person perspective, really seems to compliment Bay’s direction, which sees his cameras never been used for static shots. Everything brought he brings the in your face mentality of consumerism and dream like state the character go down to ‘’achieve’’ the American Dream. Sadly it does end there. In the press Michael Bay has been saying that this film was his most personal, as I kind of see why as everything does give you the impression this is more his (or should I say a 14 year old teenage boy – what he makes wild stereotypes in this), that this is more his dream then anything. Women wear tight clothing, men are over dominate shot like dominant gods. The film basically shows women being treat in the typical Michael Bay misogynist way, of having the only female’s character have credentials in ether the bust size department or innuendo department, as really none of them in this film serve any real purpose (and that includes Rebel Wilson). But the way it presented, it does give you the feel that Bay perhaps has done this on purpose more to give something like Mark Kermode something to complain and get angry about – but hey I could be wrong here.
The general satire is actually pretty good. There is nice flairs of brilliance with when something utterly preposterous happens, the screen freezes to reinforce that this is ‘’Still A True Story’’. And while it might not give you anything new on the front about America’s working class or the American Dream, you do feel there is content there. The thing is though Bay just seems preoccupied to try (what I can only describe as ‘trademark’ since it’s more a lurid version of the ones in his recent ‘Transformers’ sequels), and add comedy, which detracts from what is a satirical story, making a uneven tone. It also noticeable with how wobbly the performances dip in these moments – Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie just look awkward. There is also you usual stereotypes in there too, which have had characters being identified the same way since 2003’s ‘Bad Boys 2’.
As a hole it’s not a terrible or a hateful film despite the women being treated horribly then you might be lead to believe. I think personal taste might be the decider, but with the safe hands of Ed Harris in the later half coming in, there is enough life in it. It’s just a shame Mr. Bay can’t help himself and starts added unneeded things, as this could have been something more. In other words if you’re a Michael Bay hater then you might not like this.