STARRING: Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Emma Stone, Nick Nolte, Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Mackie, Robert Patrick, Michael Pena, Mireille Enos, Holt McCallany, Troy Garity, Jack McGee, Jon Polito
DIRECTED BY: Ruben Fleischer
In the grand tradition of badassery comes Gangster Squad, a movie that little kids playing cops and robbers would die to see (and honestly, this isn’t a graphically violent movie). It’s about cops being heros again, standing up against a super villain criminal and bringing justice. This movie would have been huge in the 50’s and 60’s.
Brolin plays Sgt. John O’Mara, the real hero of the film (and honestly, the real lead despite a marketing campaign that would suggest Gosling carries the film). He returned from the war to find that his beloved town has turned into some scummy crimelord town run by Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). So, he makes a bold move, and decides he’s not going to play by Cohen’s rules. He can’t be bought. Another cop that can’t be bought is Jerry (Ryan Gosling), who is close to giving up on this city and not caring anymore. But luckily for him, he falls in love with Mickey’s girl (Emma Stone), and thinks he can shut Mickey down and take her away from all of this. John is charged with putting together a team (Ribisi, Mackie, Pena, Patrick, and Gosling) to take out Mickey.
It’s really a pretty solid movie. It feels like a movie that would have been made back in the 50’s, complete with a 50’s swag. I suppose my only complaint is that they introduce a whole slew of characters with recognizable faces that are staggeringly underdeveloped. Anthony Mackie’s character, for example, seems to have no backstory other than to be the token black dude. Robert Patrick seems to just be the dude who shoots well. Even Emma Stone’s character has basically only one dimension. She just so easily turns into putty in Gosling’s hands, it’s hard to believe she would ever put up a fight.
Was it a super fun movie? Definitely. Was it filled with some really cardboard, one dimensional characters? Yes. Even Brolin and Penn’s characters, the most fleshed out in the movie, are really one-dimensional. But by the end of the film, you’ll be almost ready to forgive the film for the characters because the ride is just so damn fun. In the end, it’s just a film about good guys and bad guys, and for any boy that loved to play cops and robbers, this film will make your day.
FINAL GRADE: B