Gangster Squad is an action crime drama film based in post-World War II Los Angeles, 1949. It is the tale of a team of officers who try to take down a former boxer turned mob boss leader, “Mickey Cohen” played by Sean Penn who has power over the city.
At first from watching trailers and seeing promotional images for the film, I had thought Ryan Gosling was the main actor of this film, but I was mistaken. Happily mistaken as Josh Brolin plays lead as “ Sergeant John O’Mara“. His character is asked to go behind the dirty police forces back and form a squad of men to take down Mickey Cohen. This may seem like a simple task, but John has a lot to lose with his wife and a baby on the way. Never the less, having previously fought in the army and only recently returning from war, John still has the deep passionate desire to fight for what is right and save his town from corruption.
Ryan Gosling‘s character is actually “ Sergeant Jerry Wooters“, also a former soldier of war, now a police sergeant that does not really care for his job until things get personal. He catches the eye of “Grace Faraday“, played by Emma Stone who is conversing with the wrong crowd.
I was surprised but understand from a marketing perspective why Ryan Gosling was built up to be the “poster child” of this film as he has a large following, and this was also Gosling‘s first on-screen reunion with Stone since “Crazy, Stupid, Love“.
The acting in this film was solid. At least solid enough to make for a satisfying viewing. I admit that although the characters could have used a little bit more development, we do know enough to relate to them and enjoy the film without any real hiccups.
I really enjoyed Josh Brolin‘s portrayal of Sergeant John O’Mara. As a viewer, you really feel for O’Mara and want him to succeed in literally beating Mickey Cohen at his own game. I also enjoyed the costume and set designs. I’m not really a fan of period films, however I adore the styles of the late 40‘s – 50‘s lifestyle and fashion. I know they didn’t have internet, but it still seemed like fun times back then.
Keep your eyes peeled for the “Chinatown” action sequence as this was re-shot to replace a “movie theatre shooting scene” after the 2012 Batman midnight screening Colorado shootings happened. Because of this unfortunate event, a new scene was created and the film was pushed back for a later release. Josh Brolin did not mind this, stating to media that the new action sequence is just as good and violent as the original one.
Overall, I enjoyed Gangster Squad. It wasn’t amazing, but it was good enough to quench my thirst for action, crime and drama. I liked it, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again if I ever had the desire for some “instant-action“. It wasn’t a difficult film to follow, and despite the under development of characters, you will still be able to feel for them and cheer them on.
If you love punch-ups, shootouts, car chases, explosions and guns; then this film is perfect for you. Go check it out!