LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 03: Dwayne Johnson attends the World Premiere of Netflix's "Red Notice" at Regal LA Live on November 03, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Netflix)
Movies - TV
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's Best Performance Is In This Underrated Michael Bay Film
When Johnson first shifted from wrestling to acting, his roles were more varied and he dared to stretch himself, especially in films like "Southland Tales," where he played against type. However, one of his best performances came in a 2013 Michael Bay movie called "Pain & Gain."
Based on a grisly true story, "Pain & Gain" is an inherently Michael Bay movie — hyper-stylized, over-the-top, and almost shockingly cruel. In the movie, Johnson plays Paul Doyle, who is decidedly un-Johnson-like, a recovering addict who has turned to Jesus and is a gang member who has a conscience.
Johnson said, "One of the lengthy discussions I had with Michael is that this character will become the audience's conscience. When they want to see kindness, they'll see it through Paul Doyle. They want to see someone who is extreme, especially using external substances [like cocaine], they are going to see it through Paul Doyle."
Bay's extremely bleak sense of humor comes through "Pain & Gain," and while Mark Wahlberg's tough-guy scumbag Daniel Lugo gets the biggest laughs, Johnson's Paul is hilarious in how out-of-touch he is with everything going on. As Paul grows increasingly unhinged, Johnson perfectly makes the character morally gray and morally complex.