Gangster Squad, USA
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Stars: Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and Sean Penn
In 2009, Director Ruben Fleischer received some acclaim for his genre bending feature film debut, the Horror comedy 'Zombieland', His second feature was a little less impressive. In 2011 he released '30 Minutes or Less' which offended damn near everyone due to the fact that it made a comedy out of a real life tragedy, I may have been one of the only people to actually like '30 Minutes' so I had hopes for Fleischer's next effort 'The Gangster Squad' a gangster film set in the 40's which features an all star cast. But the question is would 'The Gangster Squad' go the way of Zombieland', a future cult classic, or '30 Minutes or Less', condemned to the depths of hell ? Unfortunately 'The Gangster Squad' goes the way of the latter, as Fleischer presents his cartoonish version of 'The Untouchables'.
'The Gangster Squad' depicts a ruthless gangster named Mickey Cohen and his reign of terror over the city of Los Angeles. A group of misfit cops, led by a stern and dedicated Sergent attempt ruin his legacy once and for all.
I tried my best to enjoy this film, but in the end it was no use. It also like it didn't want my enjoyment, and was perfectly contempt in watching me become increasingly pissed off. 'The Gangster Squad' is a film that seems to have no original thoughts or ideas of its own. The comedy in this film may be useless but I couldn't help but smirk watching scenes that I had seen many times before, done so much better, its honestly quite humorous. As I alluded to above, the film feels almost like a carbon copy of Brian De Palma's 'The Untouchables' except it worse in every department. Josh Brolin is like the Kevin Costner character, Robert Patrick is Sean Connery, Giovanni Ribisi is Charles Martin Smith and Ryan Gosling is Andy Garcia. When comparing the two films, I could never take 'Gangster Squad' seriously as its bloated, over the top and just a stupid 'Untouchables'.
The screenplay by Will Beall is ridiculous, it features dialogue such as ''Don't shoot where it is, shoot were its gonna be'' yes that's incredibly profound. Also, most scenes are straight out of other films, like the fist fight near the end with a crowd of people spectating, I instantly thought of Mel Gibson and Gary Busey facing off in the climax of 'Lethal Weapon'. Also, how many fucking cop films have to feature an officer throwing his badge into the ocean, to signify that he is disgruntled with the force. I have had ENOUGH OF IT! It was cool back when Clint Eastwood did it in 1971, now its just frustrating and cliched, like the rest of this film.
Although I have more negative things to say rather than positives, I will mention that I liked the look of the film, it seemed to capture the 40's feel that I have seen depicted in films from that era. They seem to have the details downpat.
The film features a good cast, but unfortunately they are squandered away. Sean Penn is incredibly over the top here and completely chews the scenery when he is on screen, Penn obviously has the ability to make a great villain but here he was just cartoonish. Josh Brolin does a decent job playing the most stereotypical character on screen. Ryan Gosling's talents are wasted in this brooding and uninteresting role. Emma Stone is beautiful, but she really is not allowed to do anything here other than look pretty here, she reminded me of a real life Jessica Rabbit. There is not one performance in this film that manages to rise above average, which is unacceptable considering the amount of talent involved.
I didn't expect 'Gangster Squad' to be a great film, but I expected to have a good time, but it let me down and I regret spending $16 to see it. I will reiterate once again, and say that this is a bloated and cartoonish version of 'The Untouchables' and basically uses every cliche in the police film book, hell even 'Police Academy 2: The First Assignment' is more convincing than this! I cant for the life of me recommend seeing 'Gangster Squad'.