By Gerardo Yepez
“Pain and Gain” starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Anthony Mackie tells the story of a number of 1999 Miami New Times articles surrounding the brutal kidnapping, extortion, and torture of several victims by an organized group of criminals otherwise known as the Sun Gym Gang.
The movie opens with a short monologue by Daniel Lugo who is man who believes in fitness.
Fitness for Daniel being physical as well as financial. When Daniel Lugo attends a seminar by guidance speaker Johnny Wu, he leaves the presentation wanting more out of life.
When a new customer comes in named Victor Kershaw, Daniel Lugo figures him as just another regular customer, but as the day goes on he finds out that Victor Kershaw is a self-made, rich business man.
After Lugo completes a few training sessions with Kershaw, he begins to envy his life and thinks of him as a crook who doesn’t deserve his fortune.
As Lugo begins to formulate a plan to extort Kershaw he first needs to find worthy accomplices. Daniel recruits another personal trainer named Adrian Doorbal who works at the Sun Gym with Lugo. Over time the trainers grew to be friends and have decided they’ll still need one more person to successfully go through with their plan.
When a recently released convict by the name of Paul Doyle stops by the Sun Gym, Lugo and Doorbal make him a proposition. Unfortunately for the two trainers, Doyle has recently turned to religion and has no plans of turning his back on God.
After Lugo continues to work on Doyle he eventually caves and the group forms the Sun Gym Gang. With the successful acquisition of his new partners all Lugo has to do now is to follow through with his plan to successfully extort Victor Kershaw.
As the gang goes on to try and kidnap Kershaw at his home they fail, but later try again and successfully incapacitate him.
As the story progresses the Sun Gym Gang they continually try and work over Kershaw to turn over everything he has worked for. After a few days of torture, Kershaw eventually gives in to the gang’s orders.
As Lugo soon finds out that Kershaw will be a recurring problem he decides to formulate a plan to kill him. The Sun Gym Gang makes Kershaw drink an absurd amount of alcohol and tie him to a car and try fake a car accident.
Unfortunately for the Sun Gym Gang, Kershaw survives all attempts on his life unknown to them. Eventually Kershaw appoints a private investigator named Ed DuBois III to look at his case since the officials were not believing his story.
Throughout the rest of the story Mr. DuBois keeps an eye on the Sun Gym Gang and attempts to catch them in the act of another robbery.
The film was an average film at best, it treated the cases of crime as a comedy which will undoubtedly offend some people but overall the film was mildly entertaining. The actors’ performances were great. As Mark Wahlberg devoted himself to the character physically by going up to 205lbs he also molded himself into the hot-headed Daniel Lugo. Mark Wahlberg’s presentation of Daniel Lugo was amazing. One other notable performance was that of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s character was Paul Doyle who provided much of the comic relief. The film is definitely a great ride full of steroids, laughs, and just plain craziness but still just an one of the “okay” films to start summer off.