2 1/2 out of 5 stars. Gangster Squad falls somewhere between Mulholland Falls and LA Confidential, but a little closer to the former. Think L.A. Noir: The Movie. This could've been a lot better but I was expecting much, much worse. Speaking of worse, Sean Penn was pretty bad and that Matrix bullet-time shootout in the hotel lobby was an abomination. This movie was way more slick than it needed to be.
Atrociously cliched gangster flick, where not even the nice clothes, easy jazz or Gosling's gauche charm can give sufficient compensation. Sean Penn gives the worst performance from a major American actor that I can remember.
How ironic is it that this film's trailer (which has a scene where the squad kills people in a movie theater) was shown with all of the screenings for The Dark Knight Rises? The trailer has now been pulled from upcoming showings. I am betting that the scene will be either cut or the film will be delayed.
Yes it was cliche, but I loved it, really good at what it was trying to do. We have to accept that this is not trying to be a great film, it is no ambitious film like Once Upon a Time in America or Goodfellas, it is made purely for entertainment and it certainly delivered. The performances were fine, it was very stylised as expected and of course it was over the top. The violence, however was really done brilliantly.
In 1949, the LAPD decides to fight fire with fire against infamous gangster Mickey Cohen, sending in a crackshot team of cops in to fight the mob on their turf by their rules. Josh Brolin has a great face for film noir, and Ryan Gosling looks like someone from that era, but I wish the film had gone more for a noir feel in ways besides the costumes and glossy cinematography. Still, a stylish & entertaining thriller.
1996's languid "Mulholland Falls" wanted to be, and should've been, more like this. "Gangster Squad," while no masterpiece, is the "300" of neo-noirs, and it has sorta grown on me, in all its bombastic simplicity. It's the kind of film that deserves a handicap for being right up my alley, but still. Fabulous chemistry, particularly where Stone and Gosling are concerned. Honestly, fuck those two. They're too hot.
Aside from some nice sets, brutal fist fights, and lavish slow motion photography of brass ejecting from guns, "Gangster Squad" is a tepid film by a horrible director. I feel sorry for the cast who are squandered on a script that played like it was in its first draft. Fleischer has seemingly never watched an authentic gangster film, nor has he chosen to accurately pay homage to the style. At least the action was fun.
Just as "meh" as one might expect from the trailer. Gangster Squad just tries too hard. It tries to be a dark comedy, but the real humor comes from how poorly that's done. It tries to be hyperviolent, but it's extremely sensitive to the audience and shows nothing. It tries to pack in a lot and always feels rushed. Stone and Gosling are as pretty as the production design, but that didn't help my boredom much.