Skip to main content
  1. AXS Entertainment
  2. Arts & Entertainment
  3. Movies

Johnson stands out in overblown 'Pain & Gain' On Demand

See also

Pain & Gain


Three musclebound lunkheads try to make a big score in the noisy Michael Bay directed action-comedy "Pain & Gain" currently available through Roanoke Cox Cable's Epix On DEMAND. Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) is a fast-talking fitness instructor who finds a sense of entitlement and a delusional belief in his abilities to advance himself after attending a Johnny Wu (the ubiquitous Ken Jeong) self-improvement seminar. He hatches a scheme to defraud a rich jerk named Victor Kershaw ("Monk's" Tony Shaloub) and to literally steal his entire life. He enlists the aid of a muscle mass obsessed and brainless co-worker (Anthony Mackie) and a born again ex-con ex-junkie (Dwayne Johnson). Things go very violently wrong in this unbelievable yet true story.

The story goes so far to the point of ridiculous unbelievability that a title even comes up late in the movie reiterating that "yes, this is still true." Bay would have been better off taking a simple approach to his already insanely pumped-up tale. Instead he pumps it up even further with his characteristic loud in-your-face big budget action movie style. It's further ill served with an uneven tone that goes from light comedic moments to action too dark to laugh at and ultimately vicious violence and murder with nothing whatsoever funny about them.

The movie's brightest spot is Dwayne Johnson's standout performance. It is his most nuanced and unexpected to date. He is funny and sympathetic as he absurdly struggles to maintain his morality and religious faith while he does some very bad things and sinks to his lowest point ever. It's an amusing performance well worth a look in a movie that otherwise overwhelms a compelling story with excessive filmmaking.


Today's top buzz...

  • Jack White
    Reddit users have fun photoshopping an angry Jack White at a Cubs game
    Music Buzz
  • Kliff Kingsbury
    Kliff Kingsbury reads a series of flattering tweets praising his good looks
    Today's Buzz
  • Jamaal Charles
    Kansas City Chiefs make Jamaal Charles the second highest paid running back in NFL
    NFL Buzz
  • Slash
    Slash and The Conspirators crush it at Hard Rock, AP Awards
    20 Photos
  • Monks of Mellonwah
    Exclusive interview: Monks of Mellonwah talk music, touring and more
    9 Photos
  • Nikki Bella
    How will fans react if the WWE decides to turn Nikki Bella into a heel?
    5 Photos

Related Videos:

  • 'The Wizard of Oz' is a truly epic masterpiece
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • 'Lucy' official movie poster
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518325332" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=",518325129,518325220,518338570,518321154,518325330"></div>
  • Apes with Guns!
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518290922" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>