Ex-con and Miami gym trainer Daniel Lugo (Wahlberg) woozily compares the desire for the body beautiful with attaining the American Dream. Fat, apparently, is "unpatriotic".
Building on this warped world view, he sets about achieving his goal...by kidnapping a customer at the Sun Gym - dodgy Miami businessman Victor Kershaw (Shalhoub) - torturing him and extorting all his cash and signing over his businesses.
Unfortunately, his half-baked plan falls to pieces when he makes the mistake of recruiting fellow ripped gym rats Paul Doyle (Johnson) and Adrian Doorbal (Mackie) to his patriotic cause.
Doyle is an inept burglar fresh out of the Big House who has found God in a manner that fails to preclude him from beating to a pulp a sexually predatory priest. He's also got a weakness for strippers and coke.
Doorbal is a dim-bulb bench press bunny whose over-reliance on steroids has made him impotent, a situation he hopes penile dysfunction nurse Rebel Wilson will straighten out.
After snatching Kershaw off the street, the musclebound trio hold him captive in a sex toy warehouse. When he proves stubbornly resistant to their extortion demands they decide to kill him. But even this has its problems and Kershaw escapes to plot his revenge.
Labelling a Michael Bay movie thoughtful is like calling Transformers cerebral...but this is a lot more stimulating than we've come to expect even if reverts to shoot 'em up type by the end of its pumped up running time.
The script - from the writers of Narnia and Captain America and based on a bizarrely true story - serves up some juicy zingers even if the best, probably improvised, lines come from the ever-reliable Wilson.
It also looks great, with the grimier corners of Miami bleached out in an unforgiving heat and the Sun Gym shot with the typical Bay essentials - bikini-clad hotties, buff action hunks - littering the beautifully lit set.
Normally Bay products are more pain than gain...but this hints at a welcome new departure.