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|Theatrical release poster|
|Directed by||Ruben Fleischer|
|Produced by||Dan Lin Kevin McCormick Michael Tadross|
|Screenplay by||Will Beall|
|Based on||Tales from the Gangster Squad by Paul Lieberman|
|Starring||Josh Brolin Ryan Gosling Sean Penn Nick Nolte Emma Stone Anthony Mackie Giovanni Ribisi Michael Peña Robert Patrick|
|Music by||Steve Jablonsky|
|Studio||Village Roadshow Pictures|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Running time||113 minutes|
Gangster Squad is a crime film directed by Ruben Fleischer, from a screenplay written by Will Beall, starring an ensemble cast that includes Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, and Sean Penn.
It is the story of a group of LAPD officers and detectives called the “Gangster Squad” who are attempting to keep Los Angeles safe from Mickey Cohen and his gang during the 1940s and ’50s. The film was originally set to be released September 7, 2012, but in the wake of the 2012 Aurora shooting, the film was bumped to a January 11, 2013 release date by Warner Bros. Pictures.[
In post-WWII Los Angeles, gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) has become the most powerful figure in the criminal underworld, and intends to continue to expand his criminal enterprise. The police have not been able to stop Cohen’s ruthless rise, as witnesses are afraid to testify, and Cohen has bribed many cops and influential political figures to maintain his control.
Determined to put a stop to Cohen, Chief Bill Parker (Nick Nolte), the head of the Los Angeles Police Department, creates a secret police unit with the sole mission of stopping Cohen. Respected police officer Sergeant John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) is placed in charge of recruiting additional officers. With the help of his wife, Connie (Mireille Enos), he recruits Sergeant Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling) and detectives Coleman Harris (Anthony Mackie), Conway Keeler (Giovanni Ribisi), Navidad Ramirez (Michael Peña) and Max Kennard (Robert Patrick). Calling themselves the “Gangster Squad”, the unit begins the task of destroying Cohen’s criminal operations.
This was based on a true story, but I’m not sure how close to reality this was rendered. Over the top Tommy-gun fights, wild -AMAZING- car chases, with the heavy, old 1940-50’s time-period tanks they drove back then, were exciting to watch. The plot was solid and the characters (save for one) were all well played. The bad guy, Cohen, played by Sean Penn, was terribly overacted. Penn is clearly trying to play his “lifetime gangster” character. It looked like Penn was playing Pacino’s ‘Scarface’ – playing Cohen. He was intense, but without a full cast of over-actors to compliment him, the effort it was wasted. Josh Brolin’s character, and the others, were into their roles, just not into trying make an Academy Award role out of a spot in an action flick.
Recommended for action movie lovers, and shoot-em-up movie fans. 4 stars – M.R.
Find Gangster Squad at Amazon here.