Swanner: In 1949, a group of cops do what they need to do to drive the Mob out of Los Angeles. Josh Brolin plays John O’Mara, a good cop that leads these good guys against Sean Penn’s Mickey Cohen, an east coast mobster trying to make LA his turf. Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Robert Patrick, Michael Pena and Nick Nolte make up this big cast. The film was moved from September to January after it’s unfortunate preview was attached to The Dark Knight Rises print that played before the Colorado shootings in July.
Judd: It’s a wonder that this movie was released at all given the shooting incidents that have followed Colorado. The Gangster Squad is the exact type of movie that some factions believe to be a catalyst to these tragedies; the amount of gun fire in The Gangster Squad is extreme to say the least. That being said, taking the movie out of the current political context, The Gangster Squad can be classified as an old-fashioned shoot ‘em up, light on plot heavy on lead.
Swanner: It’s a very standard story of good guys vs bad guys. You have no problems knowing who’s good and bad either. No surprises. Director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) keeps the action going and the actors deliver good performances but the script by Will Beall (Castle) based on Paul Lieberman novel offers up nothing new or terribly exciting. There was a lot of gun fire in the film and I found myself watching the exits though the movie. I know it’s silly but i had my escape route planned.
Judd: Claiming to have been based on real events, I could find nothing about The Gangster Squad or the events that led to Cohen’s arrest in the movie. Like De Palma’s Untouchables from the 80’s Gangster Squad plays fast and loose with the facts, so don’t expect to learn anything. That being said, for being a September/January release, the movie was more entertaining than I anticipated.
Swanner: I agree. I was not expecting the movie to be that entertaining or even good. Delayed from September is no vote of confidence and opening it in January just plain bad mojo. Hopefully folks will give the film a change. Brolin and Penn do give really good performances. The film also has a nice look to it and the shoots of Los Angeles 1949 are nicely done. Fans of the genre should be pretty happy with the film and with the drought of films opening it’s a good option.