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 film is based on a series of L.A. Times articles that were turned into a book written by Paul Lieberman. He turned those stories into a book, which was released August 7, which would have been perfect timing if the film hadn't been delayed. 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 entertaining as hell. It's also a total mess. Seriously, it's like watching a live-action cartoon with an A-list cast trying so hard to make this dialogue credible, but there's nothing they can do. It's a cartoon. Over the top, hammy dialogue, crazy shootouts with no consequence. If you don't shut your brain off within the first 20 minutes of this movie then you're doing something wrong. It's a shame because the plot is based off of the real life gangster Mickey Cohen who was the ruler of LA for a time, and the source material has endless potential. But the faster you can accept that that's not the kind of movie this is, the quicker you can appreciate it for its camp value.
Some things that stand out are Sean Penn's ridiculously over the top performance. Not that you can fault him for it. The part is written as a stereotypical gangster with temper issues and the script throws him these cheesy one-liners that wouldn't sound authentic coming from anyone's mouth. But to his credit, he's fun to watch. As is Brolin who plays the leader of the squad, and probably the most "human" character of them all. And there's Ryan Gosling is doing a really weird but oddly fitting voice for this time period with his natural charismatic charm. The supporting cast is good as well but they practically nothing to do. There's no pathos anywhere - it's all overblown bombast, and if you're okay with that, then I think you'll get a kick out of Gangster Squad.
If you're expecting LA Confidential 2, stay the hell away.
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