Written by Guillermo Troncoso.
If The Untouchables and Sin City had an attractive, fun and simple-minded love child, then Gangster Squad would be it.
Ruben Fleischer comes from the comedy genre. He went from directing episodes of Jimmy Kimmel to box-office success with Zombieland. While Gangster Squad is definitely more serious fare it still has a tongue placed firmly in its tough-guy cheek.
The film tells the “true” story of the group of police officers that went above the law to bring down the infamous mob king Mickey Cohen.
Everything here is over-the-top and proud of it. It’s a colourful, stylized world where the dames are in distress and the men kick ass in between coolly smoking cigarettes. The cast rise to the occasion and bring some great performances. Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling are very good but it’s Sean Penn who steals the show as Mickey Cohen. He creates a memorable, almost cartoon-like, villain that feels perfectly at home in this sort of flick.
The action is slick and violent without really being dark. In fact, every “adult” element of the story is dealt with so quickly and superficially that its all very easy to take. This may be a slight problem. You are left feeling a little unsatisfied by the end and maybe its because you feel as though there is some greatness hidden underneath the films superficial yet glossy exterior.
Gangster Squad won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Those looking for a multilayered crime drama with both depth and subtlety need to look elsewhere. If you want a simple, entertaining night at the movies then you can’t really go wrong with something like this.
THE REEL SCORE: 7/10