Michael Bay's opus Pain & Gain is finally in theaters this weekend and it got us to thinking, what would his other movies be like if the leading actors were swapped with Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson?
The Switch: Wahlberg as Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), Johnson as Capt. Lennox (Josh Duhamel)
How It Would Be a Different Movie: First of all, there'd be less of the panic-y freaked out teenage kid character played by LaBeouf and a lot less "No's" that end up in the final cut. Second, as we've seen with G.I. Joe: Retaliation (and other Rock action movies), the dude can kick butt on screen. So team him up with the mighty Autobots and a manlier Sam Witwicky and the Decepticons hardly stand a chance. This movie would be over in about an hour, allowing Bay to shoot gratuitous body shots of Megan Fox and various objects exploding in slow motion.
The Better Casting: Wahlberg & Johnson. Wahlberg has been cast as the lead in Transformers 4, so let's see how he does with the franchise.
The Switch: Wahlberg as A.J. Frost (Ben Affleck), Johnson as Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis)
How It Would Be a Different Movie: OK, trading Willis for Johnson is basically sacrilege, but Affleck for Wahlberg? Keep in mind we're swapping out late '90s Affleck, not the current beloved Oscar winner for Argo. The swap would give Willis a near-equal co-star to bounce one-liners off of, but you take a slight hit in acting skills. Then again, this is a Michael Bay film.
The Better Casting: Wahlberg and Willis in a sequel titled Armageddon Again. Get to it, Hollywood.
The Switch: Wahlberg as Mike Lowrey (Will Smith), Johnson as Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence)
How It Would Be a Different Movie: The chemistry between Smith and Lawrence is so good in Bay's feature film debut and the sequel that it's hard to swap these guys out. They may be Bay's best duo, with Cage and Connery in The Rock a distant second. Part of the reason Pain & Gain works is because of the chemistry between Wahlberg and Johnson (and co-star Anthony Mackie). If there was any difference, there would probably be less wisecracking and more butt kicking in a Wahlberg/Johnson Bad Boys.
The Better Casting: Smith and Lawrence, although if Bay ever gets around to making Bad Boys 3, maybe he can have them spar with Wahlberg and Johnson. Smith/Lawrence would still be Miami P.D., Wahlberg/Johnson could be Feds and a Victoria's Secret supermodel could be the unlikely super villain who has a distaste for wearing clothes.
The Switch: Wahlberg as Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage), Johnson as John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery)
How It Would Be a Different Movie: Johnson would be playing the youngest person to ever escape from Alcatraz and Wahlberg probably wouldn't spaz out as much as Cage, but they'd be like fish out of water. The Rock thrives on the polar personality differences between Connery and Cage's characters as they constantly butt heads throughout the film. There's also a subtle father-son tone to the partnership that you wouldn't be able to get with Wahlberg/Johnson. Plus, would you really buy Wahlberg as a biochemist? He'd probably be a better driver though.
The Better Casting: Connery and Cage. Johnson might be a good fit on General Hummel's (Ed Harris) mercenary squad.
The Switch: Wahlberg as Capt. Rafe McCawley (Ben Affleck, again), Johnson as Capt. Danny Walker (Josh Harnett)
How It Would Be a Different Movie: We're replacing Affleck with Wahlberg again but this time, it doesn't work. Neither does Johnson in this movie. Can you imagine seeing these two try to woo Kate Beckinsale?
The Better Casting: Affleck and Hartnett were fine in this movie, whereas the soaring, sappy melodrama, not so much.