Michael Bay is the definition of polarizing, a filmmaker which many moviegoers and/or cinephiles either love or despise. I myself appreciate Bay's brash, masculine style of filmmaking and in my opinion, he is one of the few auteurs working in mainstream action films. With his latest film, Pain & Gain, Bay brings his signature style in telling a much more focused story about three not so bright individuals. While Bay's films have always had their share of comedic relief, Pain and Gain is more comedy than action. Based on a pretty unbelievable true story, Pain and Gain follows a group of bodybuilders, led by Daniel Lugo, whom in the 1990s came up with a plan to kidnap and extort a very successful business man in Miami. Pain & Gain is a highly entertaining film in which we basically watch three not so bright men, falling deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole in pursuit of their "American dream". The strongest attribute of Pain & Gain is without question the world it creates. These three men, especially Daniel Lugo, are vapid individuals who've been convinced they deserve more in life and the film really does a great job at transporting the audience into their understanding of the world. Quite frankly these characters are complete idiots and the film never deviates from their point of view, going all in by showing the world through their eyes. While Pain & Gain certainly lacks the action aspect of Michael Bay's other work, his kinetic style is very much intact and it really fits the character's point of view. The glitz and shine, fame and fortune that these men desire is showcased quite well by Bay's clean and colorful palette. The film does some interesting things from a story perspective, like each character narrating their back-story to the audience, even possessing a slight commentary revolved around the "American Dream" moniker which we all share. This isn't one of the film's strongest attributes, but it certainly doesn't hurt the film either. In the end, Pain & Gain is much like the characters it presents us: Brash, bold, and sleazy, and I couldn't have had more fun.
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