Gangster Squad – Review

Posted: September 27, 2013 by The Life in All, Movie Review, Movies
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Title: Gangster Squad

Release Date: January 11, 2013

MPAA Rating: R (Strong Violence and Language)

Starring:
Josh Brolin
Ryan Gosling
Nick Nolte
Sean Penn
Emma Stone

Director:
Ruben Fleischer

Writer:
Will Beall

Plot:
in 1949, Los Angeles was in the firm grip of gangster Mickey Cohen. He ruled the city’s criminal underworld with an iron fist. To combat the expansion of Cohen’s empire, the Chief of the LAPD formed a secret special task force of law enforcement misfits to take on the gangster using unconventional tactics that weren’t always legal.

My Initial Thoughts:
Gangster Squad was a bit of a pleasant surprise when I got the opportunity to check it out. I went into it expecting it to be a re-hash of every other gangster movie that has ever been made. What I saw was a decent story, pretty good characters, and some great action scenes. Now don’t get me wrong, I am NOT saying this movie is great or anything. I was just happy to see that it wasn’t a total waste of 2 hours of my life.

What I liked:
With each character, there was a two-sided approach to their stories. Each was shown in all their badass glory during the cops-and-robbers scenes as you would expect. What was different was the softer side they were all given too. I was expecting that Brolin’s character, Sgt. John O’Mara, would get that treatment since he was the centerpiece, but was happy when it made its way through the rest of the cast.

What Looked Cool:
The action scenes were all well done, especially the “final battle” between O’Mara and Cohen.
You had all of the normal stuff you see in shoot em’ up scenes, but there was also an effort to add some legitimacy too. Anyone shooting a Thompson .45 machine gun from the hip couldn’t hit an elephant in a hallway, as would really be the case. Even the expert marksman played by Robert Patrick was shown having to (*gasp*) try to hit something from time to time.

What I didn’t like:
The old gangster movie formula was in full display. You had the tough chief, the veteran, the rookie, the dame, the main henchmen, and the over-the-top mob boss making up the cast of characters. Once the characters were in place, the story was interesting and never became slow but it did get somewhat predictable. The climax and ending were easy to figure out with about 20 minutes left to go.

What looked Dumb:
Sean Penn’s make-up. He looked like he should be in a Dick Tracy comic strip.

Final Thoughts:
If you want to see a movie to remind you of all the things that made gangster movies cool, the Gangster Squad is a good choice. If you are looking for anything with real depth or an original story, you will be disappointed.

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