Pain & Gain review

Action director takes a break from blockbusters for a trio of bodybuilders gone bad

Based on true events, this flick tells the story of three bodybuilders – Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg), Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) and Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) – who decide that they deserve more from life than the hands they've been dealt. To this end they cook up a scheme involving kidnap and extortion, but it isn't long before things get completely out of hand…

Definitely not your typical crime flick, Pain & Gain is a slightly rambling black comedy that also happens to the best thing that director Michael Bay has ever shot by some considerable distance. Utterly insane (all the more so for being based on real events) and packed with excellent performances, Pain & Gain is an blast from start to finish.

Picture: For the most part Pain & Gain's AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode is a thing of pure beauty. Colours are every bit as pumped up as the film's leading men, blacks are invitingly inky and contrast is pitch perfect.

The imperfections that do occur are clearly source-related and have to do with the multitude of different cameras used to shoot the film rather than the technical quality of Paramount's disc. A prime example comes in the opening scene, where Michael Bay uses a small camera attached to Mark Wahlberg while he does sit-ups suspended from a wall; every time the camera pans up to the sky, horizontal striations can be seen running across the image.

However, these source-related issues are ultimately few and far between, and shouldn't dissuade anybody from giving this muscular hi-def presentation a spin.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: Just because Michael Bay has taken a break from giving giant robots their marching orders doesn't mean that he's also dialled back on the dynamism we've come to expect from his movies' soundtracks. Paramount's Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track is brash and aggressive, packed with big potent bass effects and expansive imaging. Dialogue presentation is also excellent, clear and focused at all times.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: The sole extra here is The A Game: Making Michael Bay's Pain & Gain, a 57-minute chronicle of the film's production split into eight sections. Covering most of the obvious bases (the true events, the principal cast, the director's methodology, locations, etc) it's a pretty thorough look at the making of the film – although you can't help but feel that it goes a little overboard trying to convince you what a big deal it was for Michael Bay to choose such a 'low-budget' ($26million) project.
Extras rating: 2/5

We say: Michael Bay's latest and greatest may have flopped at cinemas but should find plenty of fans on BD

Pain & Gain, Paramount, All-region BD, £25 Approx