Sometimes it is just too difficult to believe a story is true.

If a Hollywood screenwriter created the story behind Pain & Gain it could quite rightly have been rejected for being too fanciful.

But, strangely, Daniel Lugo's (Mark Wahlberg) story is true and almost defies belief.

Lugo is a Florida personal trainer and bodybuilder. He helps make the rich and beautiful fitter and stronger, but comes to realise his life is going nowhere and no matter how hard he works, things aren't going to get any better.


When rich businessman Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub) comes on board as a client and boasts of his abundant wealth, an idea hatches in Lugo's mind.

With the help of fellow bodybuilders Adrian (Anthony Mackie) and Paul (Dwayne Johnson), all they have to do is kidnap Kershaw and get him to sign over all his wealth to them.

Such a simple idea doesn't quite go to plan and after eventually getting the appropriate signatures, they realise they needed to kill their victim to cover their trail.

But as with most things this group attempts, they fail miserably in a number of efforts to get rid of him.

This is to be the beginning of the end for them.

With Kershaw in hiding but determined to get his money back, the group manages to live a life of luxury but with one eye over their shoulders.

Kershaw is struggling to make anyone believe his tale of woe until one gnarly old ex-detective decides his story is simply too far-fetched to be made up.

As another kidnapping quickly goes wrong, the group is on a downward spiral that's likely to end only one way.


Pain & Gain is a strange movie in that it isn't about the action, it isn't funny but it is a bit raunchy and it does have a hell of a story to tell.

Hang in there and you'll probably emerge from the theatre shaking your head and wondering, "Did they really do all that?"

Pain & Gain

(R18) 130 minutes