Ruben Fleischer's long delayed movie Gangster Squad finally hits theaters worldwide this week, chronicling the LAPD's fight to keep the East Coast Mafia types out of Los Angeles in the 1940s and 50s. It's a big subject to tackle, though the Zombieland filmmaker has acquired quite the cast, with Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Emma Stone all lining up in the gritty drama.
The reviews are mixed, though Gangster Squad is likely to trouble the Box Office analysts this weekend and could find itself sitting pretty in the No.1 spot by Sunday. The movie's biggest draw is clearly Oscar winner Sean Penn playing Brooklyn mobster Mickey Cohen. In 1949 Los Angeles, Cohen ran the show on the West Coast too, reaping the financial rewards from drugs, guns and prostitutes. Though he intimidates just about everyone in the city, a team of LAPD outsiders led by John O'Mara (Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Gosling) come together to bring Cohen down, for good.
Speaking about getting prepared for the role, Gosling told Tribune he watched a handful of gangster flicks that he enjoyed during childhood, "My first gangster movie was Dick Tracey. I collected all the Burger King cups and had the posters. I thought I might get a cup out of this film." Adding, "The man himself, Jerry Wooters, is much braver than the character I play. But this character has come back from the war, comes home to another war, decides to lay low until the smoke clears."
According to the New York Times, Gangster Squad is inspired by a newspaper series in which Los Angeles Times writer Paul Lieberman uncovered the gritty history of the real 'squad' in his native city. Its members were detailed to root out mob influence in Southern California using warrantless wiretaps and rough treatment of subjects in back alleys or on the eerie hilltops above Hollywood.
Gangster Squad goes on general release on January 11, 2013. It was originally delayed following the Dark Knight Rises cinema shooting. A similar theatre shoot-out takes places in the film.
Watch the Gangster Squad trailer: