Style is everything, and Gangster Squad has everything. Rarely do you see post-processing effects make such a huge difference, mostly because all of the other key elements of the movie have to be also good and this should be just a topping on a cake. It is really difficult to write about a movie that followed every rule in a book and wisely spent its enormous budget. The end result is a movie that will entertain you for an hour and a half, and perhaps a couple of times in the future, when the TV companies get to it, but without any significant lasting value. In the end, none of this is our concern, we want to be entertained and we will be, so treat Gangster Squad like any other product that you buy in the store. It’s nice and shiny, but only for the first couple of uses, then it’s time to move on. Above all, Gangster Squad is predictable and a little shallow, but visually stunning and with a phenomenal cast, so it’s a sure thing for those nights that you want to watch something that just cannot suck (lets say you are having a girl over…).
The story is your standard gangster tale: a town riddled with crime and with one guy determined to rise to the top, named Mickey Cohen, is in a desperate need of heroes ready to fight for better tomorrow. With half of the police force on Mickey’s payroll, it’s really difficult for Police Chief William Parker to form a unit that will be willing to fight Mickey. But after he heard of Sgt. John O’Mara, a former World War II soldier, who is looking to build a better town for his kids, his job just got a lot easier. Parker delegates to O’Mara the selection and the forming of the Gangster Squad, a unit made up of the most dangerous, courageous and honest people. They have only one mission, bring down Mickey Cohen.
Instead of boring you with more review of the movie, I would like to address all the hate towards this movie. Some movies are products, just like any other and should be treated like that. But only in the case that they don’t pretend to be something else, and in the case of the Gangster Squad, this is the case. It never tries to outgrows its limits, and this is a good thing since it makes it look more serious. It would be sad and pathetic if they tried to make this some sort of cult movie, or a definition of something, instead you get what you paid, so you might as well enjoy it…
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writers: Will Beall, Paul Lieberman
Cast: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Robert Patrick, Nick Nolte, Michael Peña
Fun Facts: In the movie, the Gangster Squad is assembled to go after Mickey Cohen. However in real life Chief Parker set up the squad to prevent other gangsters from taking over Cohen’s rackets after Cohen went to prison on income tax evasion. Whenever the squad learned that an out-of-town gangster was coming to Los Angeles to try and set up new operations, the Gangster Squad would kidnap them, beat them up (some rumors say torture) and then send them back to wherever they came from with the warning that if the gangster ever returned, he would be killed.