The American Dream has a lot of avenues. Some people attain the house, the car, the job and the family through hard work and honest dealings. Others, obtain the dream by scheming and manipulating their way to the top. In America, you can be glorified and immortalized for both.

Pain, gain, and the American way

Take for instance the film Pain & Gain. It's a little known Michael Bay film that did moderately well. It was about three bodybuilders who happened upon a rich restauranteur named Victor Kershaw (Tony Shaloub) and decided to kill him and take over his life. The film is based on the real life story of Marc Schiller.

Schiller was an accountant and restauranteur who was kidnapped by the Sun Gym gang in the early 90's in Miami, Florida. This was a group of three bodybuilders who weren't satisfied with their lifestyle. They kidnapped Schiller and held him hostage for a month where they tasered and beat him until he signed over all of his assets to the group. Then to cover their tracks, they ran him over with a car twice to kill him. Schiller survived the attempt on his life and lived to write a book about the ordeal.

Pain & Gain is what follows. The film focuses more on the bodybuilders in the film rather than Schiller. The principle roles were given to Hollywood heavyweights Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and the tag line was "Their American Dream Is Bigger Than Yours." Schiller had a problem with this and the way he was portrayed in the film.

"Obviously they tried to kill me--and it wasn't funny when they tried to kill me. They did run me over with a car twice after trying to blow me up in the car. I was in a coma...and somehow I got out," said Schiller. "The way they tell it made it look like a comedy."

Schiller is not the first or the last guy to disagree with his onscreen persona, but it does have to be noted that when dealing with events as brutal as the events involved, a certain amount of care has to be taken even if the film is based on a true story, but not actually portraying all of the true story.

As for the real life Sun Gym gang, they were all sentenced to prison, soa modicum of justice was served. Perhaps the most important subject that the film brought up, is how far would you go to achieve the American dream? For the Sun Gym gang, the answer is to hell and back.

Note: The author of this article previously worked on a Michael Bay film, Bad Boys 2 and her brother, Nihshon Hulin was an extra in Pain & Gain.

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