Cast: Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
Direction: Ruben Fleischer
Duration: 1 hour 53 minutes
STORY: In the late 1940s, post-Second World War, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) will have to do what it takes to tackle the expansion of megalomaniacal boxer-turned-gangster Mickey Cohen’s crime empire in LA. A group of incorruptible officers are given orders to take down the vicious gangster in whichever way possible. The film is inspired by real events.
MOVIE REVIEW: Honest and fearless, John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) of LAPD is assigned the job of taking down gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). He is asked to form his own unit, comprising of like-minded, skilled men who can put an end to Mickey’s growing crime empire. He thus forms his own ‘gangster squad’. The only difference being, his squad will have to violently kill in order to restore order in the city.
When acting heavy-weights like Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling come together, one expects a mind-blowing effect, but that doesn’t really happen. Gangster Squad engages and entertains you with its occasional humor, sleek slow-motion action sequences and stylized gun violence but somewhere falls short of substance and depth. As certain righteous cops fight for honor and justice, you do not feel enough for the characters.
Filmmaker Ruben Fleischer is known for comedy. True to his style, he infuses some good humor in a few scenes. However, in the very next scene, you see extreme bloodshed. The transition doesn’t seem too smooth here. That very style worked in his earlier film Zombieland (2009), owing to its genre, which was a comedy.
Emma Stone as the gangster’s moll gets a weak role. Ryan Gosling as the ladies-man seems repetitive. In spite of drawbacks though, the film is high on style and keeps you hooked, thanks to some superb stunts and performances by Josh Brolin and Sean Penn who looks absolutely menacing as Mickey Cohen, his gaze and body language perfect for his character. Brolin is as brilliant as the heroic cop who relentlessly chases Cohen down. As far as stunts are concerned, car chases and fist-fight scenes are superbly shot.
The 1940’s setting looks authentic too. If you like to witness the battle of good versus evil, mafia and mayhem, Gangster Squad has enough fire, guns and bullets to keep you engaged! But if you seek to explore the criminal underbelly, this may be a tad too simple for your liking.