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Gangster Squad (2013)

 -  Action | Crime | Drama  -  11 January 2013 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 134,117 users   Metascore: 40/100
Reviews: 234 user | 399 critic | 38 from Metacritic.com

Los Angeles, 1949: A secret crew of police officers led by two determined sergeants work together in an effort to take down the ruthless mob king Mickey Cohen who runs the city.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Rourke
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Mitch Racine (as James Hébert)
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Milk Skinned Blonde
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Detective Sgt. Will Hendricks
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Jimmy 'Bockscar' Knox
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Mike 'The Flea'
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Lorenzo Molinari
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Patty
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Neil Koppel ...
Max Solomon
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Storyline

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 rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No names. No badges. No mercy.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 January 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gangster Squad  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$17,070,347 (USA) (11 January 2013)

Gross:

$45,996,718 (USA) (29 March 2013)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ryan Gosling's character makes a joke where he pretends that the only famous Mickey he has heard of is Mickey Mouse. As a child, Ryan Gosling starred in The All New Mickey Mouse Club (1989). See more »

Goofs

Daryl Gates didn't join the LAPD until September 16th 1949 and didn't become Chief Parker's driver until many years later. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sgt. John O'Mara: Every man carries a badge. Some symbol of his allegiance. His were the scars of a boxer who'd used his fists to climb the social ladder of the mob. A Jew who'd gained the respect of wops through a homicidal lust. He'd sworn an oath of violence. And his master? His own insatiable will to power. He wanted to own this town. His name was Mickey Cohen.
See more »

Connections

References Hop-a-long Cassidy (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

Evening Primrose
Written by Huang Qingshi and Li Jinguang
Performed by Shirley Yamaguchi (as Li Xianglan)
Courtesy of China Media Ventures Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stereotype-ridden Snorefest
26 January 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Though made for a plethora of reasons, a film need only achieve one goal to be successful: it needs to be entertaining. Engaging characters, good performances, and a story that is engrossing, even if a bit cardboard or cliché. When a film ultimately fails, it is because its characters are wooden or stereotypical, the storyline is boring, and the only question it might raise is, "was this intended to be sleep therapy for a study on insomnia?" Set that film in 1949 and make it about gangsters and cops, and you've got Gangster Squad, a film so inept that Ruben Fleischer should win an award for managing to make a violent action movie that could put an Olympic sprinter to sleep in mid-stride.

Josh Brolin stars as Sgt. Something-or-other, a no-nonsense cop who is recruited by the grizzled police chief (Nick Nolte, who eats sandpaper, apparently) to stop a gangster from taking over Los Angeles. Brolin broods as the take-no-prisoners Sarge, his squad rarely referring to him by name because they probably can't remember his name either. Despite how stylized the trailers may seem, how action-packed and exciting it promises to be, this is little more than a stable of stereotypes loosed upon mid-twentieth-century Los Angeles and hoping not to bore it half to death. It becomes exhausting to try to care about what's going on in the film because the characters haven't got a shred of credibility between them; the only enjoyment comes from Robert Patrick, himself packed tightly into the stereotype of the sharpshooting old westerner.

Sean Penn's utterly ham-fisted Mickey Cohen is taken down, but who cares? The film never makes you care about the struggle against him or the city under his rule; he's ruthless, he's tough as nails, and he's every other stereotype of the evil gangster that Sean Penn could look up the day after he got cast and decided to cram into the character. Every single actor in this film has been utterly fantastic in other films; how could the ensemble be so frightfully uninteresting? The utterly versatile and likable Ryan Gosling is so bland and watered-down that he seems confused as to why he is even in the film. Emma Stone is rendered to eye candy, a crime given her considerable talents.

Yet, as contrived as the characters are, it doesn't come close to touching how terrible the script is. Penn mugs at the camera, his only character direction seemingly "sound more angry" or "be more gangster-y." The film does itself a disservice to not show Cohen's rise to power- it wants the audience to see how powerful Cohen is, but killing his own men for their ineptitude and eating a steak dinner at a fancy restaurant does nothing to imbue the fear that Mickey is supposed to represent into the script. He quite honestly seems rather harmless, and without a villain to care about, the gangster squad's mission to tackle said villain becomes even more pointless.

The real tragedy here is the fact that for two hours, there are guns firing, flashy action sequences and big period set pieces, yet none of it seems all that interesting. It needed to be longer; it needed to go deeper. Having Sarge's wife tell the audience that he'll pick duty over family is supposed to be meaningful, but the scene is unnecessary- the opening sequence with Brolin's character tells everyone that. Too much time is spent between characters needlessly talking exposition at the audience. Time better spent developing a camaraderie between the squad members is instead spent on slow-motion sequences or on Brolin's chin-set, Mickey-Cohen-is-bad speeches. If Mickey Cohen is so terrible, why doesn't a film about his downfall just show the audience that? Not to say that Gangster Squad is completely bereft of enjoyment. The period setting was very well done, with some magnificent costume and set design. It may have been senseless and boring, but at least it felt like it was boring in 1949 and wasn't really out of place. A chase sequence early on with some vintage automobiles is excellently handled, filled with some great explosive tension, figuratively and literally. The film handles most of its gunplay and action sequences quite well, it's just a shame that all the bullets are coming from guns shot by gunmen and are flying at targets that are equally vapid and meaningless. These aren't characters, they're shells, into which an actor was poured and just told to act like a single-line description from an old pulp novel about gangsters.

Despite a moment here or there of decent action, there's nothing redeemable about the entire experience that is Gangster Squad. It is empty, boring, and ultimately will leave the audience feeling... well, nothing. What should have been an excellent period film with gangsters and cops with some depth and character exploration is instead ripe with brevity, with everything thrown at the screen wrapped in a stereotype with so little substance, you can almost see through Mickey Cohen.

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