Not Much to Gain Here
Review by Edmund Meinerts
Having spent most of his career creating big-budget explosion clotheslines, director Michael Bay’s latest is a surprising downscale in scope and budget: PAIN & GAIN, a crime film based on the exploits of a group of real-life bodybuilders-turned-organized-criminals. The film (and in particular its stab at dark comedy) has received mixed reviews, which by Bay’s standards is like being nominated for half a dozen Oscars, and along for the ride for the fifth BAY film in a row is STEVE JABLONSKY, whose disappointingly hit-and-miss career path is one of the most frustrating phenomena in recent film music. Unfortunately, PAIN & GAIN is another one to add to the rapidly growing pile of misses.
JABLONSKY’s previous scores for the director, led by the power-anthem-laden TRANSFORMERS trilogy, have generally been extremely derivative of his mentor HANS ZIMMER, but still memorable and thematic enough to stand as viable guilty pleasures (the first in particular). PAIN & GAIN takes a very different route, however, scrapping the orchestra almost entirely in favor of a modern, all-synthetic soundscape a la CLIFF MARTINEZ. Like MARTINEZ’ scores, it is no doubt sufficient as a mood-setter in the context of the film but on the excessively generous 65-minute album, most of it is simply dull.