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Gangster Squad

By MATTHEW SINGER
Talk about a misfire. An extra-pulpy 1940s crime drama with visions of The Untouchables in its eyes, Gangster Squad aims for homage, but the impatient direction of Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) lacks the grace and wit of a true noir. Based on the allegedly true story of an LAPD shadow unit that brought down one of the city’s most notorious crime lords, Gangster Squad stars Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen, a boxer-turned-psychopathic kingpin with a scowl permanently etched into his face. Seriously: The makeup gives Penn the look of a Dick Tracy villain, and he plays Cohen with attendant cartoonish malevolence. The new police chief (Nick Nolte, talking like he swallowed Tom Waits) gives Josh Brolin’s bullheaded but incorruptible Sgt. James O’Mara—a World War II vet for whom the war has not ended—the green light to engage in guerrilla combat with the previously untouchable Cohen. Ryan Gosling is a fellow vet for whom the war has ended and who is content to slurp cocktails and chase tail, but his usual smolder is snuffed by Will Beall’s underboiled script. Gangster Squad bulldozes from elevator brawls to jailbreaks to car chases to a needlessly showy slow-mo shootout in a hotel lobby, pausing only for perfunctory male bonding and clunky dialogue that spells out the half-baked theme of the thin division between the lawful and the lawless. When one character gives a shooting lesson by tossing a beer can in the air, the other character takes the easy shot after the can lands in the dirt. I think I know how that can feels.
 
  • Genres: Crime drama
  • Running Time: 110 minutes
  • Release Date: Friday, January 11, 2013
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: R [ Language, Strong Violence ]
  • Critic's Score: C-
  • Starring: Josh Brolin [Sgt. John O'Mara], Ryan Gosling [Sgt. Jerry Wooters], Nick Nolte [Chief Parker], Robert Patrick [Max Kennard], Michael Peña [Navidad Ramirez], Giovanni Ribisi [Conwell Keeler], Anthony Mackie [Coleman Harris], Emma Stone [Grace Faraday], Sean Penn [Mickey Cohen], John Aylward [Judge Carter], Josh Pence [Daryl Gates], De'aundre Bonds [Duke Del-Red], Jon Polito [Dragna], Wade Williams [Rourke], Mick Betancourt [Det. Sgt. Will Hendricks], Jack McGee [Lt. Quincannon], Mireille Enos [Connie O'Mara], Troy Garity [Wrevock]
  • Directed by: Ruben Fleischer [Director], Will Beall [Screenwriter], Dan Lin [Producer], Kevin McCormick [Producer], Michael Tadross [Producer], Paul Lieberman [Executive Producer], Ruben Fleischer [Executive Producer], Bruce Berman [Executive Producer], Dion Beebe [Cinematographer], Maher Ahmad [Production Design], Alan Baumgarten [Film Editor], James Herbert [Film Editor], John Papsidera [Casting], Mary Zophres [Costume Designer], Steve Jablonsky [Original Music], Austin Gorg [Supervising Art Direction], Timothy O'Brien [Art Director], Gene Serdena [Set Decoration]
  • Visit the Movie Website | Watch the trailer
 

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