Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review - Gangster Squad (2013)

Starring Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and Sean Penn.
Directed by Ruben Fleischer.

Gangster Squad has been receiving an onslaught of poor reviews and I finally see why. It now pains my heart whenever someone mentions this movie in the same breath as classics such as Dick Tracy, The Untouchables and L.A Confidential. What a waste of a good cast.

The movie does have a similar plot to The Untouchables where a group of brave cops plan the take down a crime lord ruling their city. The crime lord in this case is Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) and the police officers are Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Pena and Robert Patrick - to which they are called the gangster squad. For the duration of the film, they go about disrupting Mickey Cohen's world until the final showdown.

First and foremost, this movie is stylish. They were able to capture that 1930s/40s era style nicely. I loved the atmostphere created by the film's soundtrack plus the settings and costuming were good. However this movie ran on air. Gangster Squad has ZERO character development. The characters were.... they were just....there. So the movie felt boring because the characters were just not that interesting. Even some of the members of the gangster squad just seemed irrelevant and became lost as the movie went along. Ryan Gosling seemed so out of place in this film and Emma Stone was underused. Then again, they didn't have much to work with because the script was mediocre.

On top of a mediocre script, the story is formulaic - you could basically tell what was gonna happen from the start before it even happened. This just further added to the boring experience of watching this movie. However, the movie does boast action sequences involving tommy guns and shootouts which most action fans will appreciate. Unfortunately that wasn't enough for me because even the action scenes weren't that gripping or riveting to say the least. The movie failed to build a tension between the mob and the gangster squad that I had hoped for. Therefore the ending and face-off in the last scene of the movie seemed so implausible.

The movie Gangster Squad features a star studded cast, tommy guns but poor direction. The only person that was slightly interesting was Sean Penn's character and I'm being nice. Action movie fans might love it for the blazing guns but it was overall lacking and disappointing.

Rating: 4.5/10

Movies also Watched:

Robot and Frank (2012)
Set in the near future, Robot and Frank is warm, moving look at a friendship between an elderly man and his robot whilst highlighting the challenges of old age. - 8/10

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (2012)
A violently entertaining animated flick showing a geriatric Batman kicking ass. - 9.5/10

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 (2013)
After watching this sequel, previous Batman movies just seem a lot less stunning. - 10/10

The Way of The Gun (2000)
This movie features riveting action sequences, humor here and there but the weak story made me lose interest towards the end. - 6.5/10

The Flight Of The Phoenix (1965)
A well-acted, engaging and remarkable tale of survival and defying the odds. - 10/10

Vanishing Point (1971)
Vanishing Point features a thrilling car chase and a man with nothing to lose. - 9/10

Eraserhead (1977)
David Lynch's weird style and symbolism at its finest. - 7.5/10


  1. Good review Shawna. Not perfect by any means, but still a nice time at the movies if you have some minutes and hours to burn. That's always a good way to spend it.

  2. Well I got back last night after watching it. It was a last minute thing too. Love Gangster movies and thought this looked great. loving Boardwalk Empire and enjoyed public enemy number one (suprisingly) so I was a little dismayed by the total lack of empathy with this movie upon leaving the cinema.