Starring: Sean Penn (The Tree of Life), Josh Brolin (Men in Black III), Ryan Gosling (Drive), Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-man), Holt McCallany (Bullet to the Head), Anthony Mackie (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Michael Pena (End of Watch), Giovanni Ribisi (Ted), Nick Nolte (Warrior), Robert Patrick (Safe House), Austin Highsmith (A Dolphin Tale)
The movie starts off with Mickey Cohen (Penn) showing how wicked he is as he literally split’s a man in half with two cars. Watching it, not sure I believe that it’s possible, but not going to challenge it.
Next we are introduced to Sargenant John O’Mara (Brolin) and how he takes down one of Cohen’s prostiution rings by himself. His boss warns him that he had better be careful going after Mickey.
One day, John is called upon by the Chief of police (Nolte) to create a group and take down Mickey Cohen and run him out of town, by any means necessary. John takes the job without hesitation.
John starts recruiting members and the first member he looks for is Jerry Wooters (Gosling) who is a native on the land and the scene and could offer him insight, but Jerry doesn’t wan to get involved.
John then asks Max Kennard (Patrick) who has a good shot, and he also gets his intern Navidad Ramirez (Pena) who he’s training in shooting. Next comes a cop who uses violence to get justice in his neighborhood in California, Coleman Harris (Mackie). The last person that he gets is a tech genius, Conway Keeler (Ribisi).
They don’t know where to start so Keeler comes up with the idea of bugging his house. While inside, Keeler sees that Jerry is having an affair with Mickey’s girl, Grace (Stone), and knows that it means bad news.
As they start taking down his rings, Mickey starts get frustrated and starts using all his power to find out who the guys are that are trying to take him down. It all leads to a big show down at a hotel.
Initially I was a little put off to see this movie. I had read some other reviews and it seemed that many of them weren’t liking the movie. They called it ‘mediocre’ and ‘it not meeting expectations’. I guess the fact that I lowered my expectations before going to see this movie, it helped me like it. While I do say that it wasn’t as good as I was expecting it to be, it certainly wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.
There is a lot of violence and a few squirmish things, but it still doesn’t hold a candle to the true gangster films like Goodfellas, Scarface, and Godfather.
The scenery and the costumes were amazing, definitely one of the best parts of the film. It made the whole thing feel like it was from the late 1940’s, but the dialogue didn’t seem to quite fit the timeframe of the 1940’s. It seemed like they were trying to hard.
There were some touching and comedic moments that softened the violence of the movie, but overall I think that they should have had more of those softer moments for the film, especially for the guys of the Gangster Squad since they had more at stake.
Other then parts of the dialogue, there were some camera shots that didn’t fit with the flow of the movie. There would be times when they were be slow motion shots of gun shooting scenes or close ups of bullets falling to the floor. It messed with the flow of the movie because there didn’t seem to be a uniform. What would have been a good idea is to focus on the dialogue and the scenery because that’s what speaks 1940’s. The close-ups and slow motion feels more modern and doesn’t fit with the time frame of the movie.
Overall, it was a fairly entertaining movie. It isn’t as good as I was expecting it to be, especially considering how many stars are in the movie. But I think the actors did a good job at what they were given, it was just the writing wasn’t there. It is an ok movie to see, but if you are expecting to be getting another gangster movie, this isn’t the one.