Pain and Gain Special Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review
Michael Bay’s dark comedy Pain & Gain made its Blu-ray debut back in August as a bare-bones release with no extras. For those who wanted to know more about the real-life events that inspired the film, Paramount will be releasing the Pain and Gain Special Collector’s Edition Blu-ray on December 3rd, featuring 57 minutes of revealing behind-the-scenes footage and a digital copy.
Pain & Gain is a stranger-than-fiction story of roided-out Miami bodybuilders (Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie) who kidnap, torture and extort their way into some serious cash in the mid-90s. It’s based on true events, following Wahlberg’s Danny Lugo and two accomplices as they attempt to seize hold of the American dream by any means necessary.
Danny Lugo (Wahlberg) loves fitness, but hates his job as a personal trainer – or at least the low income associated with it. He is determined to be a success at any cost, and after attending seminars with a crazed motivational speaker (Ken Jeong) he decides to seize the assets of one of his clients, a rich, drug-dealing scumbag named Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub). He soon attracts two other trainers to his cause, his employee Adrian (Mackie), and an ex-con named Paul (Johnson). Adrian’s steroid abuse has led to erectile dysfunction, and Paul has found Jesus and is desperately trying to stay sober – a goal that he fails miserably during the film’s run time, leading to some of Pain & Gain’s biggest laughs.
The special features on the Pain and Gain Special Collector’s Edition Blu-ray are interesting – the 57 minute documentary goes into detail about everything from the actual Sun Gym Gang to the casting to the use of real SWAT and police forces in the film. Michael Bay and Dwayne Johnson talk about how the script was on the shelf for over a decade, and how Bay kept getting pulled aside to direct more Transformers films, but never lost his passion for the project. The film’s meager budget (by Michael Bay standards) is discussed, as well as what production concessions had to be made – such as filming sequences in Bay’s own home. Apparently Anthony Mackie was cast only 7 weeks prior to filming, and Mark Wahlberg had to go from 165 pounds to 205 in a few short months. I got a kick out of listening to the Miami-Dade police captain go on about all the things Bay directed them to do, and how his team would never do any of these things in real life. Almost makes you wonder why he insisted on using real police vs. actors.
While the film itself is solid (easily Bay’s best film in years), there’s not a whole lot on the Pain and Gain Special Collector’s Edition Blu-ray to entice those who already purchased the initial release. There’s a new slip-cover with alternate artwork, and the case itself is red (reminiscent of an HD-DVD case – remember those?), but aside from that and the aforementioned special features, there’s nothing new here. This isn’t an extended cut, it doesn’t have an alternate ending/ gag reel/ commentary, and the original release came with a digital copy as well. In short, this is the package that should have been released back in August. That said, if you enjoyed the film in theaters and have yet to pick it up on home video, this is definitely the version you want.