Pain & Gain Special Collector's Edition (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 1 Old 11-26-2013, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Paramount Pictures- 2013
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 129 minutes
Genre: Crime, Comedy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 7.1, French, Spanish, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris, Rob Corddry
Directed by: Michael Bay
Written by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Music by: Steve Jablonsky
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 3, 2013

"Their American Dream Is Bigger Than Yours."

Film Synopsis:

When an ambitious group of personal trainers (Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie) go after the American Dream, they get caught up in a criminal enterprise that goes horribly wrong. Now, living large will take everything they’ve got in the unbelievable true story.

My Take:

Lee reviewed the original barebones release of Pain & Gain, which contained no bonus features (all other aspects are the same), back in August. Our take on the film and presentation is essentially the same so I have included his comments below and added a rating for the bonus material.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For some its being healthy, others are content getting by and being happy with a loving family, but some are never content and obsess about having more (like me with my never ending upgrade and my refusal to go into the ultra high end 20k and up forum). Daniel Lugo (Marky Mark Wahlberg) had enough of being a personal trainer to the rich, and in his mind, inferior human specimens. I mean really, look at his body. He deserves their success, their money, and hits a breaking point where he concocts a scheme to take a wealthy business mans fortune over, while leaving him desolate. He enlists the help of an ex-drug addict and newly religious ex-con bodybuilder (Duane Johnson) and another easily manipulated bodybuilder (Anthony Mackie). The three get caught over their heads in this criminal enterprise, as they make mistake after mistake in a snowball of stupidity. The best part is they don't even realize how foolish they really are, as they keep on going well after anyone else would have called it a day.

There is not much plot beyond that, and to get into specific moments to truly paint a picture of how dumb these guys are, how brazen their attitude is and how dark and violent, yet strangely fluffy this movie is would give some of the fun away. The most insane part is that it is based on a true story, and from my research it is seemingly accurate.

What better a location for a Michael Bay (Transformers) film than Miami?? The golden sun, the colorful scenery-- all fit his big bold colorful and fast style of film-making. Like him or not, it sure worked well with Pain & Gain, and it also fit this absolutely insane story. Clocking in at over 2 hours, I was never bored, ad was truly impressed with the acting here, especially Duane Johnson. This is not your typical comedy, not your typical crime flick and not your typical Micheal Bay film. I enjoyed it and recommend it as a change of pace for a mindless popcorn flick night.

Parental Guide:

Rated R for bloody violence, crude sexual content, nudity, language throughout and drug use

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 92

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Video: 96

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Pain & Gain comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 Mbps and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 4.6 Mbps

** It should be noted that Lee’s review indicated that the original release contained a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track when in fact it contained a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track (a typo as the stats contained at the top indicated the proper format). I have reflected that here and added the bitrates I noted during my evaluation.

This one sure is a superb transfer from Paramount. It's colorful, full of fine details that are visible on everything, on ever frame, and has that extra bit of depth only the top tier releases can realize. Of course the colors are a bit overblown and contrast a wee bit boosted in a stylistic choice that perfectly fits the movie as well as its plot and location. Flesh tones cook a bit too much, but it is a sun soaked local and these are meathead body builders we are talking about here. Blacks were inky and never suffered crush or issues in shadow.

The audio is really fun as well. Aggressive, yet articulate, dynamics mingled with fidelity in a mix that took on a life of its own. Low end is tight and punchy, surrounds used perfectly, and dialogue always came through no matter the location of a gym, a stripclub or a screaming match. This is one not to be missed.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) The A Game: Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain (8 segments totaling 53 minutes)
    1. Still a true story: Ripped from the headlines
    2. Back to the basics: Michael Bay’s vision
    3. American dreamer: Daniel Lugo
    4. Passion player: Paul Doyle
    5. Dirty work: Adrian Doorbal
    6. Victimless crime: Victor Kershaw
    7. Diamonds in the rough: Locations
    8. The Real Deal: Law enforcement
    9. Ultraviolet Digital Copy
    10. Digital Copy

Final Thoughts (Lee & Ralph):

I was not expecting this but Pain & Gain gets a recommendation from me. Chalk it up to preconceived notions, but I was expecting something completely brainless and silly. What I found was a character study of desperation to obtain a false American dream of material possessions and all around excess. Great looking video, phenomenal audio and an above average supplemental package make this a worthy acquisition for fans. It should be noted that while this Special Edition offers the UV/Digital copy it does not contain a DVD version (included in the original release). If you interested in giving Pain & Gain a spin on Blu-ray this is the version to toss in your rental queue.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Ralph C. Potts
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