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Of Muscles and Men

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We get pumped for 'Pain & Gain' with these ripped flicks By Sean Axmaker Special to MSN MoviesPhysical perfection has been an ideal for as long as there has been civilization, celebrated in games and competitions, extolled in song and story, captured in paintings and, since the late 19th century, photographs and movies. That inspiration continues today. In "Pain and Gain," Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson pump iron to sculpt themselves into the bodybuilder ideal, modeling themselves on such specimens as Arnold Schwarzenegger, WWE champions and Mr. Olympia winners. Where they get off track in their pursuit of the American dream is when they put their hard bodies into the service of an ill-advised plot involving extortion and kidnapping. All that muscle seems to have gone to their heads when it should have gone to straight to the abs and pecs. That ideal of rippling musculature and hard definition across the arms, legs and chests was not always the model of masculine perfection. The muscleman of earlier eras with bulkier and brawnier, more like a beefy circus strongman or barrel-chested wrestler, and the image evolved thanks to the examples set by fitness gurus like Jack LaLanne and bodybuilders like Steve Reeves. Here's a look at the changing image of fitness and strength and physical perfection on the screen, from the strongman of the silent days to the beefcake heroes of Hollywood spectacles to the oiled-up warrior in the new Hollywood version of the ancient world soldiers and gladiators. Want more Movies? Be sure to like MSN Movies on Facebook and follow MSN Movies Twitter.("Pain & Gain"/Paramount Studios)
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