It's 1949 Los Angeles, the city is run by gangsters and a malicious mobster, Mickey Cohen. Determined to end the corruption, John O'Mara assembles a team of cops, ready to take down the ruthless leader and restore peace to the city.
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 Sergeant 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
The tracking shot that starts off the montage was inspired by the hallway fight in the original Oldboy. Josh Brolin also stared in the 2013 Oldboy remake which was also released in the same year as gangster squad. See more »
The film gives the impression that the Gangster Squad were responsible for Mickey Cohen's arrest. In reality, Cohen was arrested in 1950 for the more mundane crime of tax evasion. He was also not sent to Alcatraz until 1961, over a decade after the film's time frame. See more »
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.
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Gangster Squad is directed by Ruben Fleischer and written by Will Beal. It stars Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Nick Nolte, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Robert Patrick and Michael Pena. Music is by Steve Jablonski and cinematography by Dion Beebee.
Los Angeles is being brought to its knees by crime boss Mickey Cohen (Penn). In one of the darkened offices of the police department, a special squad of officers is being assembled. Given free licence to bring Cohen and his operations down by any means necessary, the Gangster Squad fight fir with fire.
Loosely based on real life facts, Gangster Squad is a good old slice of machine gun etiquette. An all star cast get to play good guys and wise guys in The Untouchables tradition, even if that in itself can't quite lift the film to the higher echelons of gangster movies past and present.
There's absolutely nothing new here, it plays out as expected. Brolin and Gosling are the main smooth operators in the good guys camp, the former given the family man in danger sub-plot, the latter given the dangerous dame to fall in love with in the shapely form of Emma Stone, who as it happens is also dating Cohen! Hmm...
Over in the wise guys department is Penn on full tilt sweary and hammy overdrive. It's a very colourful portrayal, menacing and completely over the top. How the performance sits with you will greatly depend on how you find Penn as an actor when let loose on a cartoon characterisation.
It's all very period pleasing, with a bustling late 40s L.A. hosting men with hats, trench coats and tommy-guns. Men who frequent the speakeasy bars as torch singers warble their stuff. There is nothing wrong with the production at all, except maybe when the dialogue veers to clunky. The action scenes are well crafted, loud, bloody and exciting, and the photography sparkles and the music soars.
If only the makers had put some thought into it, a bit of brains to go with the brawn. As a comic book type gangster piece, it works well on entertainment terms, elsewhere its lightweight and formula compliant, with the Ribisi, Patrick and Pena characters telegraphed a mile away. So, quite some way away from the great The Untouchables then, but better than Mullholland Falls. Make of that what you will. 6.5/10
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