Gangster Squad (2013) Review
Looks great with an A list cast and brilliant visuals but suffers from a serious lack of originality. Whilst the cast were brilliant with their roles you couldn’t help but feel they weren’t given much to work with, I put this down to the writing and script because it was consistently weak from the storytelling to characters. At first the lack of originality almost felt like continuous homages to other gangster films but it does get to be boring as there is nothing new to add, then the film feels more like a rip off of other films, films I really like (Untouchables, Goodfellas). At the end though the film is at least fun to watch and has some highlights such as acting and gun play. However some of these gun play scenes would make you laugh because they are just so absurd, some key scenes I will discuss later.
Los Angeles, 1949. Ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and-if he has his way-every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians who are under his control. It’s enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop…except, perhaps, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen’s world apart.
Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended.
Story: 40% Acting: 80% Visuals: 80% Dialogue: 50%
Fight/Gun Scenes: 70% Style/Sound: 70% Characters: 55%
The story of this film is pretty much been there done that, and the more you think about it after watching the film the more you realize just how lazy this really was on the side of the writers. The acting was brilliant but because the actors where all experienced and talented not because they were given anything good to work with from the writers, the dialogue wasn’t anything special and was one of the films weakest points and as a gangster film this becomes a problem. One of the main parts of gangster films I love is the fantastic dialogue between characters and if you can’t even get that right then you are in for crummy film in this sub-genre. Lastly the characters of the film could have been a lot better with what I saw but then again they could have been much worst with a less talented cast so I should count myself lucky.
The visuals were all pretty good and expected from a modern gangster film, the costumes the buildings even the guns where all very impressive. Got some trivia for you on the visual side, the guns were all re-mastered guns used in that time period so could have actually been used by the mob, each gun was estimated at costing $40,000 each. The cars used in the car chase scenes also had to be fitted with modern brakes and engines so as to be far more reliable on shoots. The fight and gun scenes where pretty good for the most part, however some scenes were ridiculous mainly one scene where two people stand at most 4 feet away and shoot Tommy guns at each other, nothing between them but Christmas decorations yet nobody gets shot, gave me a good laugh but it was unintentional.
Must Watch Trailer:
The best reviews I found would be these “A bullet-riddled bloodbath with an all-star cast, Gangster Squad is a lurid and ludicrous Mob thriller that glorifies a gangland lifestyle.” Claudia Puig. Then “When the gun smoke clears, the body count is finished and the blood is mopped up, “Gangster Squad” is little more than another Hollywood wannabe overshadowed by the legacy of “L.A. Confidential” Betsy Sharkey. Also “Gangster Squad, I have seen The Untouchables and you, sir, are no Untouchables. But you may be the most violent episode of Dragnet ever.” Jeff Meyers. Lastly “Where originality goes to get mowed down by a Tommy gun” Matthew Razak . My favourite scene would have to be the part where that kid dies and Jerry goes a little loopy nearly killing Mickey.