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Wednesday, January 9, 2013
New Release Review: Gangster Squad (Ruben Fleischer, 2013)
Gangster Squad, Ruben Fleischer’s (Zombieland, 30 Minutes or Less) Los Angeles gangster noir, has made a much-publicised journey to screens. Following the cinema shooting tragedy in Aurora, trailers were pulled from running before features and there were announced re-shoots to key sequences – one apparently involving the characters shooting at moviegoers with submachine guns. With a dunderheaded cliché-heavy screenplay, and nonsensical stylistic indulgences aplenty, a host of talented actors are unfortunately short-changed by this bland, cartoonish endeavour that sways between being violent and nasty and woefully miscued farce.
Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), a ruthless Brooklyn-born gangster, will soon have his hand in the entirety of the wire betting west of Chicago, in addition to his Los Angeles gambling, drug and prostitution rackets. He has most of the police force, as well as influential judges and politicians, in his pocket and no one dares to cross him. Following an individual vigilante crackdown of one of Cohen’s rings, Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) is approached by his police chief (Nick Nolte) and asked to put together a squad – a ragtag band of trustworthy detectives and uniformed police alike, including O’Mara’s friend and fellow war vet Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling) – that would operate outside of the LAPD jurisdiction in a brash attempt to foil Cohen’s potential financial benefits and take down his gang.