There’s something romantic about California during the 40s/50s – it’s a feast of stylish visuals that inspires hard-boiled action epics filled with mystery, murder, and mobsters aplenty. So Gangster Squad naturally sounds like treat, but like candy coated trail-mix – what looks good on the outside can be a little nutty on the inside.
When Mickey Cohen, a notorious gangster, plans to take over the city of Los Angeles, the police chief calls on an equally notorious detective, offering him the opportunity to assemble a crack team to clean up Cohen’s operation.
The Bottom Line
Gangster Squad is a visually stunning film by Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer - it oozes class, style, and authenticity. The film also has an intimidating list of talent from big names like Sean Penn and Josh Brolin to rising stars Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Michael Pena; all of whom are believable and memorable in their roles. Gangster Squad had so much potential, it’s very disappointing that the plot is so incredibly linear; the one tracked nature of the film makes it a chore to sit through but the eye candy and top-class character acting is a consolation that makes this hit-and-miss gangster flick deserving of rental.
Fans of art deco period films and gangster movies in general will get a kick out of Gangster Squad. It may be brainless but there is plenty of on screen action to keep any trigger finger perfectly satiated.