Pain & Gain (Blu-ray)

August 12, 2013 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

2013 has been a really good year for both Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  Yes I realize that he really doesn’t go by “The Rock” anymore, but I think someone with the audacity to refer to themselves as such a thing should never live it down.  Hey, I love “The Rock”, he’s probably one of my favorite actors. And as I mentioned, it’s been a really good year for him with starring roles in Snitch, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Fast and Furious 6 to name just a few. Wahlberg hasn’t been quite as active but with this and the recent 2 Guns and the success of last year’s Ted, he’s not doing that badly himself. But let’s look at the obvious, shall we?  Both of these guys are essentially known for one thing – they’re bodies.  Both Wahlberg and Johnson have always kept themselves in impeccable shape.  Johnson was a former collegiate football star at the University of Miami and I guess Wahlberg had to look his best since he used to be an underwear model for Calvin Klein. So what do you get when you combine these two guys, a lot of testosterone and a director who epitomizes a “guy” movie?  Oh my.

Meet Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg), a self-made man if there ever was one, but someone who’s also had his share of misfortunes.  Daniel has just convinced the owner of a Miami gym to hire him on under the promise of him tripling the membership in 90 days.  He does it. What was once a hangout for the elderly is now a hot spot full of strippers and bodybuilders.  Life is good.  However one of Daniel’s clients has a big mouth and constantly brags on his own success. When he’s had enough, Daniel decides that he’ll force Victor (Tony Shaloub) to sign over his assets.  Daniel, of course, needs help and enlists another client, Adrian (Anthony Mackie) as well as a God-fearing ex-con, Paul (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson).  The strange thing is that it works, though there’s one small detail that may or may not play a part in the trio’s success.

I didn’t mention it above, but this is a true story and the film takes place in the mid 90’s.  That’s somewhat irrelevant as I think it could have translated fairly well to modern day, but that’s neither here nor there.  Both Wahlberg and Johnson are great in their roles and if ever there was a movie that would be perfect for both of these guys, it’s that of two body builders.  Let me also say that this movie is dark. I mean some pretty bad things happen and they’re not shy about showing it.  Granted, it’s a Michael Bay movie so of course there has to be bikini-clad models in nearly every scene, but that’s not really the issue. If you’re sick of the Transformers movies and want to get back to the kind of movie that Michael Bay was known for (ironically he really rose to fame in the mid 90’s with movies like The Rock and Bad Boys) then this is it.

Video: How does it look?

Presented in a 2.40:1 AVC HD image, Pain & Gain looks darn near perfect. We get every trick of the trade that Bay is known for, the ultra slow-motion shots, the sideways shot with contrasting color styles and everything in between.  Detail is amazing, we can see the individual hairs in Wahlberg’s beard and the fine grains of cocaine just before Johnson’s character snorts the off his hand.  Little beads of sweat add to the amazing detail as well.  The movie takes place in Miami, so the entire film has a very warm look to it with plenty of nice, colorful shots. Being a new to Blu-ray film we can expect the best and this delivers on every level.

Audio: How does it sound?

If ever there’s something that’s synonymous with a Michael Bay film it’s that it’ll have a kick ass soundtrack. You know what – this one is no exception.  Paramount is standing strong in their support of Dolby’s TrueHD mix and this is one amazing soundtrack.  Vocals are strong and well-centered, surrounds are almost constantly humming away, the LFE are heavily involved and every other speaker in your room will have some role in this movie.  We get scenes in a nightclub with that 90’s dance music that Wahlberg helped perpetuate, gunshots ring out and we’ve even got some chase scenes that add to the action.  This mix sounds amazing.

Supplements: What are the extras?

I thought that there as another disc that I was missing, but nope – Paramount has supplied us with the barest of bones Blu-ray’s here with no extras at all – not even a trailer.  We do get a DVD of the film as well as an UltraViolet copy.

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