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Review: Bay’s new flick is all pain, no gain

April 24, 2013 • Entertainment


This film image released by Paramount Pictures shows, from left, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie and Mark Wahlberg in a scene from “Pain and Gain.” (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Jaime Trueblood)

There’s a siege mentality about Michael Bay’s movies, as though viewers are the enemy holed up in a bunker and he’s the guy ordering heavy-metal music around-the-clock to wear down our morale and force us to surrender.

Bay’s true-crime caper “Pain & Gain” lacks the visual-effects mayhem and sci-fi cacophony of his “Transformers” blockbusters, yet the movie uses all the shock and awe and noise and bluster the director has in his utterly unsubtle arsenal.

Unlike Bay’s usual action nonsense, there’s a story, screenplay, characters and wry mix of suspense and pitiable comedy to be had in the tale of three Florida bodybuilders who blunder through kidnapping schemes like the Three Stooges on steroids.

All but the faintest flashes of humanity and pathos are flattened by the cinematic cyclone that is Michael Bay. He drowns “Pain & Gain” in gimmick and style which, rather than gussying things Login to read more

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