Gangster Squad

"Very Good"

Gangster Squad Review


This may be based on a true story, but the filmmakers never bother exploring the complexities of historical events, instead opting for a comic book-style approach that's entertaining but somewhat unsatisfying. Still, this style-over-substance approach at least produces a rollicking police thriller that's often a lot of fun to watch, packed with gifted actors who gleefully chomp through the scenery.

The setting is 1949 Los Angeles, where the notorious gangster Mickey Cohen (Penn) is launching a Chicago-style mob takeover of the city. The police chief (Nolte) is determined to stop him, but feels surrounded by corruption, so he hires straight-arrow detective John (Brolin) to head up a secret squad that will operate off the books to stop Cohen, whatever it takes. John's pregnant wife (Enos) isn't thrilled by this, but she helps him select his team: techie Conway (Ribisi), gunslinger Max (Patrick), hot-shot Coleman (Mackie) and quick-learning rookie Navidad (Pena). And then there's pretty-boy detective Jerry (Gosling), who courts danger by launching a fling with Mickey's moll Grace (Stone). Understandably, their task doesn't go smoothly.

Billed as the untold story of what really happened, the film ignores quite a few key facts while indulging in implausible plotting and overly colourful characterisations. In other words, it's impossible to believe anything we're watching, which eliminates all of the relevance and resonance that could have filled this story of police corruption, out-of-control capitalism and especially the use of illegal methods to do the right thing. Instead, the film is all shiny surfaces, with flashy production design, too-immaculate costumes and haircuts, and a plot that reduces a complex situation into a simplistic action movie narrative.

But there's a lot of fun to be had along the way, from the wildly inventive action scenes (such as a whooshing car chase in the pitch dark) to a hint of sexy chemistry between Gosling and Stone. And Penn hams it up marvellously, injecting some actorly heft along the way. But then everyone overplays their roles shamelessly, striking cool poses and barking out iconic lines that may keep us smiling but make us wonder about the clearly more interesting truth buried under this colourful, energetic romp.

Rich Cline



Gangster Squad

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 113 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th January 2013

Box Office USA: $46.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $105.2M

Budget: $60M

Distributed by: Warner Bros.

Production compaines: Langley Park Production, Lin Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 32%
Fresh: 62 Rotten: 132

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Producer: Dan Lin, Kevin McCormick,

Starring: as Mickey Cohen, as Sgt. Jerry Wooters, as Grace Faraday, as John O'Mara, as Bill Parker, as Conway Keeler, as Darryl Gates, as Jimmy reagan, as Coleman Harris, as Max Kennard, as Navidad Ramirez, as Connie O'Mara, as Karl Lockwood, as Rourke, James Landry Hébert as Mitch Racine, as Milk Skinned Blonde, Mick Betancourt as Detective Sgt. Will Hendricks, Mac Brandt as Bruiser, as Jimmy 'Bockscar' Knox, as Mike 'The Flea', as Giovanni Vacarezza, Anthony Molinari as Lorenzo Molinari, as Patty, Neil Koppel as Max Solomon, as Lt. Quincannon, as Neddy Herbert, as Johnny Stomp, as Wrevock, as Pete, as Judge Carter, Dennis Cockrum as Elmer Jackson, as Sheriff Biscailuz, Yvette Tucker as Carmen Miranda, as Bridge Goon, Jonny Coyne as Grimes, Eva La Dare as Dancer

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.