It is a huge disappointment and doesn't live up to the hype but there's plenty of good action, great performances and unique style that can overcome most of the flaws that this film has.
Gangster Squad takes place in Los Angeles in 1949, where Mickey Cohen, a once known boxer, becomes the most powerful and notorious criminal in the city and plans to expand his power through other cities like Chicago and New York. Determined to stop Cohen, Chief Bill Parker decides to create a secret police squad with the sole mission to bring down Cohen and his empire. This squad includes John O Mara, Jerry Wooters, Coleman Harris, Conwell Keeler, Navidad Ramirez and Max Kennard. Together, they begin to take down every operation that Cohen plans to expand his empire and take him down by any means necessary.
To begin, let's start with the problems that Gangster Squad suffers in this film. First off, Sean Penn's performance as Mickey Cohen was just plain awful. He goes way too over the top and he is just a bore to watch. I thought Mickey Cohen was supposed to be this menacing bastard that owns Los Angeles and can control anything including the police and politics, not some goofball that overreacts to everything and goes nuts for it. Quite frankly, this is one hell of a bad performance that I hope Sean Penn learns to never do acting like this again. I also don't like the dialogue cause it feels very forced and what worries me the most is that this script was written by the guy who's going to write Justice League The Movie. The actors do their best with the script but it's so bad and horribly written that it ruins some of the movie's more emotional moments.
The characters are underdeveloped, I did not care for any of the characters in this movie and we don't get to know much about them. Which is a shame since some of this characters have very cool personalities to boot but without any development for these characters, it just doesn't matter if they're cool or not. The whole movie was re-filmed and re-edited for the January 2013 release and boy, does it shows. Some of the scenes cut very abruptly and the scene where they shoot gangsters during the theater is gone. I don't blame the folks at Warner Bros. for doing this move cause the shooting wasn't even there own fault and we didn't see it coming as well but we might get a Director's Cut version that included all the footage that was cut from the original version including the theater scene, so there's still hope.
With all my complaints aside, is there anything good about Gangster Squad? Of course there is some good stuff about the film. The style of the movie is excellent bringing that 40's feel into the film and the cinematography on Los Angeles looks really phenomenal at times. From the iconic buildings to the luxurious clubs, this movie oozes with style over substance. I liked the performances despite the bad script and underdeveloped characters. Ryan Gosling was enjoyable in his performance, Emma Stone was also good on her performance, Josh Brolin was badass as O'Mara, Nick Nolte was decent as the Chief and Robert Patrick was super fun as a badass gunslinger killer. I also enjoyed some of the action scenes that had a lot of suspense and urgency that makes them so much fun to watch and Ruben Fleischer's direction on making his first gangster movie was not bad. Granted, he should have made more movies before tackling the gangster genre but for his first time, he is good on what he is doing in this film and I appreciate his love that went on making this movie during production on the film.
Overall, Gangster Squad is a disappointment that I'm sure people saw it coming but from what is worth is a decent experience and better than the other trashy films that got released in January 2013 like Mama, Texas Chainsaw 3D and A Haunted House. If you're looking for a gangster movie that can match up to the classics like Goodfellas, then you might wanna look somewhere else but if you're looking for a fun movie, then Gangster Squad is a fine movie to go with friends and just have fun with the film. Overall, a disappointing but decent flick that was tarnished by a very tragic incident.
Thank you James Holmes for killing these people in Colorado and getting the media to blame it all on the violence of video games and movies, you f*cking bastard.