Pin It
Favorite

Muscle Beach 

Holy crap, Michael Bay made a really good movie

click to enlarge art19229.jpg

There are two things to deal with before giving in to this surprisingly terrific film.

First, it’s produced and directed by Michael Bay. C’mon, folks, there was some pretty good pre-Transformers moviemaking from the admittedly effects-crazed Bay. Check out The Rock and the original Bad Boys. Some fun stuff there.

Second, a great deal of what happens in Pain & Gain really happened, almost 10 years ago, in and around Miami, albeit with less funny business than is presented in the film.

While we’re counting, let’s go for a third — a different Rock: Dwayne Johnson. The man has proven to be a competent actor during his time out of the wrestling ring, in both minor and major roles. But this time he reaches new levels, shows multiple sides of a complex character, shines just a little brighter than the other glowing folks around him.

This is the story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) — a man who did time for bilking money from investors, reinvented himself as a personal trainer in a Miami gym, then went for his version of the American dream: getting as much money as possible by simply taking it from a rich guy he despised.

He brought two fellow bodybuilders on boad — Paul Doyle (actually an amalgam of a couple of people), played by Johnson, and Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie). As portrayed in the film, the combined intelligence level of this trio wouldn’t provide a light bulb with enough brightness to read. Their inept approach to the kidnapping of wealthy braggart gym client Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub) goes wrong from the start, and provides the film with some sparkling comedic moments.

But let’s go back to Bay, and the often rough and tough sensibility he brings to his films. These criminals actually did some really loony things, but they also abandoned any normal behavior when things went wrong and they had to wing it. The comedy here turns dark, then black, then pitch black, then gruesome.

But the combo of a slick, mostly believable script from Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (co-writers of Captain America and the Narnia trilogy) — and some perfectly timed ensemble acting from the three leads, a manic Shalhoub, and a calm and collected Ed Harris as a private detective — results in a film that makes you laugh while you cringe, then makes you laugh some more.

It’s a bizarre, complicated story filled with jaw-dropping left turns. Some artistic license has been taken to help it go down a little easier, but a quick Google search for Daniel Lugo will reveal that you can’t just slough it off by saying it’s only a movie. 

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • The Big One
  • The Big One

    San Andreas pits The Rock against an earthquake, and you know who's gonna win
    • May 27, 2015
  • Manifest Destiny
  • Manifest Destiny

    Michael Fassbender gives us the spirit of golden-age Eastwood in Slow West
    • May 27, 2015
  • Happily Ever After?
  • Happily Ever After?

    Tomorrowland's fantastical vision of the future may leave you wanting more — or less
    • May 20, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
The Manhattan Transfer

The Manhattan Transfer @ Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox

Thu., May 28, 8-10 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Ed Symkus

  • The Big One
  • The Big One

    San Andreas pits The Rock against an earthquake, and you know who's gonna win
    • May 27, 2015
  • Happily Ever After?
  • Happily Ever After?

    Tomorrowland's fantastical vision of the future may leave you wanting more — or less
    • May 20, 2015
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Band to Watch 2015: LOOMER

    How two children of the nineties embraced the decade
    • May 20, 2015
  • Desert Rage

    Mad Max: Fury Road will restore your faith in action movies
    • May 13, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation