Rating: 2.5 / 5
The bodybuilder Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) works in a gym. Besides his body, which he takes very good care of, the job doesn’t yield much. So Lugo and his friend Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) decide to kidnap the wealthy businessman Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub) and force him to transfer all of his money to them. Together with ex-inmate Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) they put the project into practice. However, the plan fails, and so the private detective Ed Du Bois (Ed Harris) becomes aware of the group.
As a model American, Michael Bay is one of the great instances of hurray patriotism and belongs to the politically conservative spectrum. It is almost astonishing that the noble proletariat with a tendency to over-saturated images picks out a story that actually leaves the America of his dreams a little bit in the rain. In essence, it is about “the American dream”. A group of people who do not play a role in society want to become the privileged and powerful people in the country. For this they are ready to work and live according to the ideology: Who works hard gets what he wants.
But this action orgy is not that easy to see through either. Because while the film definitely takes this point of view, it remains unclear to what extent the makers behind the work actually agree. The fact is that the so-called heroes of this story are also portrayed as quite idiots. This is also impressively shown in the planning of the kidnapping, or the ultra religious zeal of Paul Doyle. He repents for each of his atrocities. But somehow you don’t trust the whole thing when you have the staging in front of you. Therefore, the film leaves you with question marks rather than really providing information about anything.
In addition, the film is just ultra brutal in many places. Like when the group wants to kidnap Frank Griga. At such moments the film fails to bring its tonality under control. What in a moment still functions as an absurd hangover sufficiency suddenly turns into an abstruse orgy of violence that just doesn’t know exactly what it actually wants. The film is certainly based on the works of Quentin Tarantino, or Robert Rodriguez, but the film lacks class in every point.
And the fact that we are dealing with ultra-fantasy characters is also impressively demonstrated by scenes in which Wahlberg’s Daniel Lugo beats children in basketball. Whether this is entertaining is an open question. But it clearly shows the intellectual level at which the protagonists operate. And everyone who has ever seen a Bay film knows that Bay prefers such proletarians with a kitish idea of the American dream. It doesn’t help if you keep saying that this is to be understood ironically. The film allows this interpretation only marginally.
What is left is a film that can be entertaining and offers many adolescent show values, such as sun, beach, pretty women, cars, creaking, funny sayings and testosterone. It’s certainly not entertaining, as the film is still too long. Still, you can somehow do that to yourself. It’s just not something that anyone ever needed.
Michael Bay certainly provokes the minds of some people with this film, while he sorely misses puberty in the eternal mid-life crisis. A mix of the most varied of tones does not turn the film into art here, although that can certainly be impressive in terms of the presentation and the basic idea. Relatively speaking, this is probably the calmest work by Bay, but that only makes it a film worth seeing in these spheres.