Monday 3 June 2013

Today's Review: Gangster Squad

Look at that cast. That's a good cast. So it has to be a good movie, right? Well...

Gangster Squad is set in post WWII Los Angeles, a city where gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) has everyone in his pocket. The cops won't touch him, and anyone willing to testify ends up dead. But John O'Mara (Josh Brolin) doesn't care about all that, and after shooting some of Cohen's thugs in the face to save a young woman, he finds himself drafted into leading a squad of no nonsense guerrilla warfare cops, tasked with destroying the pillars of Cohen's operation. Members of his team include sharp shooter Max Kennard (Robert Patrick) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who finds himself engaging in a dangerous affair with Cohen's girlfriend (Emma Stone). Can this "gangster squad" succeed in their mission, or will Cohen get the better of them in the end?

This movie was released in January, which led me to believe it was part of the serious Oscar fodder that's regularly thrown out around that time. Turns out it was delayed due to the Aurora shooting, and was meant to be out last September, so the fact that it's an all out action and explosion fest no longer surprises me. Unfortunately, that makes the actual plot and character development very thin on the ground. Sure, there's a story, but it's punctuated at regular intervals by action scenes and shoot outs that, while well executed, are loaded with cliches and don't really have much substance overall. Thankfully there's a fantastic cast to support the whole thing, and they all do very well, but none of the characters are particularly fleshed out, so we're just left with a bunch of talented people running from place to place shooting gangsters in the face. It's certainly fun enough to watch, there's just nothing that makes it stand out above every other action movie out there.

My rating: 3/5

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