It's 1949 Los Angeles, and gangster Mickey Cohen has moved in, with the intention of controlling all criminal activity in the city. He has bought local judges and police, and no one is willing to cross him or testify against him. Everyone except Seargant John O'Mara, a former World War II soldier, whose goal is to settle with his family in a peaceful Los Angeles. Police Chief William Parker decides to form a special unit whose mission is to take down Cohen, and chooses O'Mara to lead the unit. O'Mara chooses 4 cops and asks another cop and vet, Jerry Wooters to join him but Wooters is not interested. But when he witnesses the murder of a young boy by Cohen's people, he joins them, and they decide to take apart Cohen's organization. Cohen wonders if a rival is going after him, but eventually he realizes it's the cops. Written by
Glossy, slick, bloody, violent, dumb, crowd-pleasing, and undeniably entertaining. Filled with every gangster genre cliché rolled into one, GANGSTER SQUAD ain't high art, nor is it aiming to be. It seemed as if director Fleischer was trying to tell this story in the most fun possible way, and he succeeds with flying colors. The film is at its best when its loud and dumb but falters when it tries to be anything more than that.
The cast seems like they're having fun, especially Sean Penn who has a field day with his role as the villain Mickey Cohen. The lines he's given are pure gold. Josh Brolin does a great job as the lead and Ryan Gosling is charming and charismatic as usual. However, Emma Stone is underused with a thankless role, but it's nice that she's in the film anyway. Overall, GANGSTER SQUAD is fun entertainment. No judgments, little pretense.
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