Lights, action, mobsters! And who can save Los Angeles from the brood of bad mobsters trying to take over the city? None other than Sgt. John O'Mara (Josh Brolin) and his secret company of police officers: Coleman Harris (Anthony Mackie), Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), Conway Keeler (Giovanni Ribisi), Max Kennard (Robert Patrick), and Navidad Ramirez (Michael Pena). Together they form a team to take down mobster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) who is working to control Los Angeles and is also in control of Wooters' love interest Grace Faraday (Emma Stone).
To the naked eye this may appear to be your typical mobster movie, it's got pronounced good guys and bad guys, guns, car chases, fighting, explosions, and passionate love. In many ways, yes, this is your typical film noir. But director Ruben Fleischer keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time and brings more than just your typical run-of-the-mill mobster movie to the table. The story is enticing, the cinematography is exhilarating, and this is truly an all-star cast. Sean Penn shows, once again, that he can handle any role he is presented with. He brings a lot to this movie and it shows that without his presence this would not have been the same movie at all and would not be nearly as good as what it is.
Josh Brolin is the somewhat typical stern officer of the law that likes to push the envelope, just add a few drops of Chuck Norris hand-to-hand combat. However Brolin plays his part well and complements the cast nicely, as does heart-throb Ryan Gosling. Giovanni Ribisi is able to play a different character in each of his movies and is consistently believable and eccentric in each role, “Gangster Squad” is no exception. Finally, the beautiful Emma Stone, who does a wonderful job of playing Gosling's love interest torn between true love and her life among the dangerous mobsters.
Overall this was a good film that is on the recommended list of movies to watch. While it's not the movie of the year, “Gangster Squad” is exciting and has a strong story. It stays in the period well and does not pull you away from the reality it builds by showing over-the-top explosions and fight scenes. Fleischer has exceeded my expectations and I look forward to seeing what he does in the future.