Review: Gangster Squad

Published On 26 January, 2013 | By Tani | films, Reviews
How ‘gangster’ is Gangster Squad? A round of review of Ruben Fleischer’s early 2013 blockbuster.

Gangsta Squad

Certificate: 15 | Genre: Action/Crime/Drama | Release Date: 2013 | E2E Rating: 3/5

Cast: Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Peña, Robert Patrick.

Synopsis: Los Angeles, 1949: A secret crew of police officers led by two determined sergeants work together in an effort to take down the ruthless mob king Mickey Cohen who runs the city

From the trailers, and the star-studded line up – which raised some eye grabbing attention of onlookers, a heavy expectation of a classic film was built. Admittedly and most I had mentioned it to, didn’t really have a clue what the film was about or didn’t recognize the name of the film, despite the cast!

The plot itself was interesting. A mobster, Mickey Cohen played by Sean Penn – an early 50’s era villain  attempting to take over the West Coast of America; by ensuring that every piece of money goes through his hands before anyone else.

Typically there was a hero, as there always has to be one good cop; fighting the waves against an arsenal of threats. This was Men In Black 3 star Josh Brolin who played Sgt. John O’Mara.

Through some research with aid from his expecting wife, a misfit group is found. This looked to be  randomly drawn up by the writers just to make numbers meet and for the film to speed up! The group consisted of the baby-faced Ryan Goslin –  playing Sgt. Jerry Wooters, obviously for the ladies; not just those watching but to cause controversy in film! As Wooters’ eventually became more of a hindrance, as he fell for Cohen’s girl, Grace Faraday played by the red-haired Emma Stone – obviously for the lads!

The group also included Anthony Mackie as Coleman Harris, a down to earth and  honest cop who wants to clean up the streets with his handy knife skills. Giovanni Ribisi as Officer Conway Keeler, the brains of everything who operated surveillance and wasn’t one for violence.  Michael Peña as Officer Navidad Ramirez who was Officer Max Kennard’s (Robert Patrick) side kick and protégé, with their precise shooting skills.

Not exactly the Avengers Assemble, but they just about took on the whole city after abandoning their badges!

On the whole, the film had a decent plot, but simply didn’t live up to the high expectations many had as it was hard to live up to anything that the casts reputations have. Sean Penn didn’t sound convincing in his role, which was bad as he was the most important character with the story focusing on him.

Being based on a Paul Leiberman’s creation, ‘Tales from the Gangster Squad’, the Ruben Fleischer directed movie  despite the surplus characters and the cast didn’t tie in with the tales. Overall the film is one that will be easily forgotten and is far from a classic. Fleischer tried his best with who he was given; “no names, no badges, no mercy” but no one stood out.

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