Brawn Gone Wrong
Pain & Gain
Review by Ross Anthony

The fumbling bad guys genre goes nonfiction. Successful director of action films Michael Bay tries his hand at a Guy Richie (Snatch, Two Smoking Barrels) style production with mixed results. Mark Wahlberg's pumped performance gives muscle to the film's momentum up until just about the third act where Ed Harris takes over as the film's anchor. Nicely paced, directed and edited, viewers will enjoy laughing at these dimwitted heavyweights right up to the point where somebody actually dies. Because these murders can't be written off as scripted fiction, the silly poke-funnery tone of the film takes an awkward turn. What was fun to watch becomes less so. The film would have likely self-destructed from there, but sharp screenwriters saved it by giving the audience (finally!) a likeable character to root for. This is where Ed Harris steps in and steers the film to some semblance of safety.

The film's ironic sense of humor (despite the tragedy) might have been salvaged had editors opted to minimize the murderous moments. While Ritchie and Tarantino, etc, have been successful pairing grizzly cinema with dark humor, it simply doesn't work here (possibly because "Pain and Gain" reminds us -even during the picture- that its story is true).

At the end of the day. This is a tragic, yet admittedly fascinating tale. Audiences will ogle it like a train wreck, then leave the theatre with festering pits in their stomachs as if they'd stayed home all day and watched the news.

-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --

  • Pain & Gain. Copyright © 2013.
  • Directed by Michael Bay. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, Rob Corddry, Bar Paly. Paramount

Grade..........................B (2/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Thursday, 25-Apr-2013 19:17:54 PDT