MOVIE REVIEW: GANGSTER SQUAD (2013)

Running time: 1 hour, 53 minutes
Cast: Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Emma Stone
Director: Ruben Fleischer

Gangster Squad boasts an A-List cast and Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer, but apparently that’s not enough to make a great movie. I felt this movie was over the top at times, a little cheesy, and way too heavy handed with the gun violence. Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, and Sean Penn are definitely worth watching and I think they saved this movie from being plain bad.

Gangster Squad 2013 poster

Picture it:

1949. Los Angeles. Gangster Mickey Cohen (Penn) is terrorizing the city and Sgt. O’Mara (Brolin) leads a secret police unit tasked with driving Cohen out of town. Sgt. Wooters (Gosling) is the last cop to join the unit, and he’s also having an affair with Mickey’s girlfriend, Grace (Stone). Now, get yer guns ready!

Um, what kind of movie is this?

I couldn’t tell if this movie meant to be a spoof, or if there was just some bad acting and writing in certain spots. One scene that comes to mind: Gracie is at a club wearing THE red dress that you see in the poster, and she makes immediate eye contact with Wooters. Gracie speaks in a slow, drawling, breathy tone reminiscent of the 1940s leading ladies of Hollywood, and Wooters had an awful Bogart-esque, too cool for school tone. I almost laughed. But then I started thinking it was supposed to be serious.

Shoot ’em up!

I think ‘Guns’ should have top billing alongside Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling. Seriously, I tuned out during the numerous shooting scenes, and I thought it was a bit excessive.

Good cast…but two people didn’t mesh well.

Josh Brolin carried this movie as the earnest do-gooder O’Mara. We got a sense of his family life with his pregnant wife Connie, who is scared for his life as he hunts down Cohen. Sean Penn really hammed it up as the bad guy and he was fun to watch. I cringed through some of the scenes with Gosling and Stone though. On a scale of 1 to 10 their chemistry level was a 0, which surprised me because so many critics praised their chemistry in 2011’s Crazy, Stupid, Love. 

Final thought.

This movie was frustrating at times, because I felt some parts of the plot were rushed forward and other parts were only partially explored. However, I didn’t regret watching this movie because the actors were so damn good with the material they were given.

If you watched Gangster Squad let me know what you thought about it!

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