Movie Title: Gangster Squad
Date Released: January 11th, 2013
Date Seen: January 11th, 2013
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
If you’re in the mood for a good gangster film – skip this one. It’s not great. It’s a long, way too drawn out movie with nearly all unlikeable characters you hardly have time to connect to (which is astonishing considering how drawn out the movie was), and no good music. I love the trailer music and so I was at least excited for that, but no. The major problem is that the movie wasn’t billed correctly. If you go in expecting an awesome serious gangster film – you’re going to hate it. If you go in expecting nothing – you might enjoy it a bit. It’s just so ridiculous and over the top and stupidly funny for no real reason.
The movie begins with Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) ripping a man in half with his cars to send a message to Chicago – to try and show them that he’s the big man in LA. So that’s our first introduction to his character – making mean glaring faces. That’s pretty much all he ever does. Glares at things. At times when he was talking I’d zone out and think of his character in I Am Sam. Mostly just because his facial expression never changed and I know Sean Penn is a good actor, so I just thought of I Am Sam and was happy again. Then I realized I was still watching Gangster Squad, and was sad again.
We then meet the bad ass Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin). He was awesome in every scene he was in. Because he’s Josh Brolin. We also meet the kind of doesn’t care about anything any more cop, Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling). It was Ryan Gosling playing Ryan Gosling. He was the same role he was in every movie. O’Mara is recruited by the police chief, Nick Nolte, to try and take down Cohen. So he recruits some other guys and then start to try to take Cohen down.
Here is where I lost faith in the movie (well, I had already lost a good amount of faith, but there was no hope after this point). The movie couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a serious gangster flick or a parody of gangster films. It had the feeling that two completely different writers wrote the screenplay. This was probably due to the fact that it was based on a book by Paul Lieberman and then Will Beall (who wrote some episodes of Castle) wrote the screenplay. It was just very very odd and didn’t feel cohesive. It also took me out of the movie because I wasn’t expecting this rampant comedic stupidity some of the characters had. Yes, I did laugh, but it wasn’t what I wanted from the movie. I think this also had to do with the fact that Ruben Fleischer was the director. Don’t recognize the name? He directed Zombieland and 30 Minutes or Less. He also directed some episodes of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “Funny or Die Presents…”. He’s also a producer on a number of MTV shows (Rob & Big, Fantasy Factory, etc.). So see what the problem is here? He’s used to directing/producing comedy laced movies/shows. I just don’t think he was ready to direct a movie like this. Moments of funny would have been nice – but not the rampant stupidity I found in the movie.
The movie also dragged on and on. It seemed to take forever to get started, then moved way to quickly through stuff I would have liked to see, and then just dragged on. I actually thought (well… hoped) that the movie was over at one point. But nope, another 30 minutes! Ugh. You just didn’t care about the characters enough, nor see enough of Mickey Cohen being a completely evil gangster, to really care what happened.
Yes, there were some gun fights. They were quick, blurry, and full of quick cuts, so you could hardly see what was going on. There was some punch outs – but again, quick cuts, blurry, and fast. Sometimes they’d throw in a bit of slow motion of a gun cocking or bullets falling to rattle you up – but no, still not a great scene.
Oh yeah. And Carmen Miranda makes an appearance. Yeah, I get she was popular at the time the movie supposedly takes place – but I’m gonna say a big fat no the fact that she’d be singing in a gangster run club in LA.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review
The movie begins, Mickey Cohen is evil, they make a squad to go stop him. They *finally* defeat Mickey Cohen after being complete idiots, wasting time, not making plans, and going all “Raid Redemption” on the hotel he’s hold up in. The end. Stupid.
The more I think about it the more I realize that this movie sucked, I was waiting for it to be over, and I never care to see it again. Some of the actors in the movie are amazing – but due to a poor screenplay, incorrect advertising, and a director who was out of his element, the movie failed.