Gangster Squad (2013)

Every man wears a badge and for these police officers and gangsters it’s all about just being knock-offs!

Gangster Squad

Warner Bros. Pictures in association with Lin Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and Langley Park Productions present…

Inspired from the book of Paul Lieberman with the title “Tales from the Gangster Squad”, the film tells a story of an undisclosed task force mobilized to seek out and destroy Los Angeles unwanted migrant and pathetic boxer turned notorious gangster Meyer Harris “Mickey” Cohen!

Director Ruben Fleischer (30 Minutes or Less) who debuted in “Zombieland” falls short in his action crime take on a very reputable unit that makes even “The Green Hornet” more watchable than this losers rampaging in the streets searching for their so-called elusive justice! That is why I’m glad DC Comics and Warner Bros. did not push through with the services of the Writer seeing that he is not the right person to pen their most anticipated “Justice League” film, Will Beall (Castle) does not have the right cut and experience to bring together the iconic team to millions of fans let alone in his take on a police squad who only creates public nuisance and chaos while doing their jobs to protect the public!

It had a “Tombstone” and “The Untouchables” premise written all over it as they got the guns, the courage, the charisma and the ability to be cool and that’s all about it! With a poor script and worse an A-list of talent pooled together in one bloody mess, Gangster Squad takes the underwhelming action of 1940’s criminal underworld into a whirlpool of petty one liners, cheesy plot and a whole lot of anger coming from trigger happy freaks on both ends!

Josh Brolin (Men in Black III) has so much potential to be great and could still continue to be part of award winning actors if he can just get a break from his projects. Since his outstanding performance in “True Grit” and “No Country for Old Men” he had numerous offers in which one fail to impress the movie going public and in the box-office which was none other than “Jonah Hex”. In the film, he plays Sgt. John O’ Mara, a veteran from WWII with plenty of accolades and medals due to his exemplary performance in the field; he was commissioned by Chief of Police Bill Parker portrayed briefly by Nick Nolte (Mulholland Falls) to finally deal with this “eastern crook”. Now a time for reconstruction and public responsibility has set in new heights seeing that people will take advantage of economic growth in their respective cities!

Still ambivalent who just needs some persuasion and an epiphany, Ryan Gosling (Drive) takes on the mob headstrong while trying to be as suave as possible with the women! He portrays sweet talking Sgt. Jerry Wooters another war hero who sees life as it comes around, not much to deter unless provoked!

Speaking of provocation, who would not want to be in the arms of this generation’s rising star Emma Stone (Easy A) she plays Cohen’s squeeze and ethics teacher who soon falls in love that guy with the “photoshopped” abs in reference with their last partnership from the hit movie “Crazy Stupid Love”. Their chemistry here was insufficiently withdrawn and conveniently added to just have a screen couple setting sights for attention and escapism!

While rounding off the roster of this radical unorthodox squad is Anthony Mackie (Notorious) playing knife thrower Coleman Harris; my personal favorite Giovanni Ribisi (Public Enemies) as Conwell Keeler the brains of the group (I believe they all should…);  and screen veteran Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) as the sharp shooting gangster killer Max Kennard don’t let me bring Michael Peña (Observe and Report) into the picture, he’s got talent but seriously poor writing just stomped his character and acting, he is Navidad Ramirez who’s best line was “I got the drop on you didn’t I?”. (for crying out loud)

Here we are, the toast of the town Sean Penn (I am Sam) is the only one who made this film at least believable in respect to its adapted novel and context. Born in Brooklyn, New York he found his way to work with the top of the business like Bugsy Siegel, Lucky Luciano and Al Capone. Setting sights in Los Angeles, he muscled his way into lucrative gambling sites, restaurants and dined with Sunset Boulevard’s most beautiful women! Sean has been a remarkable actor since his earlier days, he would have been more tangible if someone played the pudgy gangster with the likes of mob films familiar face Joe Pesci but he was able to pull it together bringing the crime boss susceptibility with his temper more than make–up  the abysmal script. (well, not all since his actual make-up was not necessary in my own opinion).

They were like terrorists and arsonists who burns every possible hideout of gambling and racketeering Cohen has while beating his people like crap just to say that you are being given a familiar gesture to either get out of our city, stop your illegal business and go to jail! How does the justice system works here if this undercover cops does more harm in the community when actually they should perform like real police officers to apprehend their supposedly target and not destroy public property or put in harm’s way  any civilians in their operations!

In the complete running time, three fourth’s of the film was so ridiculously show boating with a fan service effect that may have been at best cut off since the last quarter was meant for the impeccable penultimate where the bad guy gets the hand cuffs (or not) while synchronizing it with a final stand-off shoot out to avenge dead colleagues, loved ones and protecting those who are left at the cross fire.  So it goes without saying: It’s funny, you can never truly compromise with the devil but the only good thing is though not all are angels, you can still find one or two in the city of Los Angeles!


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