Director Rueben Fleisher's 'Gangster Squad',
in a word, is cartoonish. It's a big old live action
cartoon. It's that pretty girl you've been waiting to
date for a while, because this movie is long delayed for a
number of reasons, and now that you are finally out with her
it becomes painfully clear that she's dumb as dirt.
About as bright as a bag of rocks. But does that mean
you cannot have fun with this stupid pretty girl? Of
course it doesn't.
Los Angeles 1949. Hardcore cop Sgt. John O'Meara (Josh
Brolin) sees some pretty thing picked up by a pimp pretending
to be talent agent, and he's gonna rescue her. Sgt.
O'Meara's plan? Walk in, shoot everybody, and anybody he
doesn't shoot… just beat them near to death. Get used to
Sgt. O'Meara's planning techniques because they will not
improve as this movie goes on.
Problem is that this operation belongs to mobster Mickey
Cohen, as played by Sean Penn who I think was channeling Prune
Face from those Dick Tracy cartoons for his performance.
Mickey is not a nice person. Just ask that guy he ripped
in two on the hill or those schlubs who allowed O'Meara to
beat them half to death. And while this little setback
didn't make Mickey happy, it's just a blip on his path to
control the entire criminal operations of the west coast.
Well, we can't very well allow that,
now can we? Thus The Chief (Nick Nolte) has slated
O'Meara, with the help of his pregnant wife (Mireille Enos)…
it's complicated… to put together a squad of gangster busters
who answer to no one and take no prisoners. This
multi-ethnic group of 1949 gangster busters consists of
Coleman the black Dude (Anthony Mackie), Ramirez the Mexican
dude (Anthony Pena), Max the Old dude (Robert Patrick) and
Conway the Smart dude (Giovanni
Ribisi). Conway is the one with the wife and kids.
Yes, we know that O'Meara has a pregnant wife as well, but who
seriously thinks Josh Brolin is gonna die in this movie?
There is one more potential Gangster Buster in Jerry the
Pretty Boy (Ryan Gosling), but he's not interested, until
Cohen makes him interested. Partly because he's kicking
it with Cohen's moll Grace (Emma Stone).
With the team assembled, it's time to do some gangster
busting. At first our heroes kind of suck at this, until
they get better at this. By basically doing the same
thing. I gotta tell you, if I was a gangster I don't
think I'd have too much trouble putting these idiots
down. Naturally Cohen isn't happy about these clowns
disrupting his operations and he takes steps. Not all of
our gangster busters are gonna make it, I'm not telling you
who, but just know that even though Mickey Cohen has this
entire city on lockdown and owns everybody and everything,
five cops with guns and no discernible plan that I can tell,
will make it happen in their favor.
I know the point when I basically gave up on 'Gangster Squad'
as a legitimate crime movie. So you're a gangster and a
bunch hoods with tommy guns open fire on you and your
wife. Their goal is to kill you. They fail at
this. Knowing this information, what's your next
move? If you said 'go home and go to bed with no
protection except for the maid so these gangsters can have a
much easier path to killing you'… then you win the
prize. It was so easy it makes me wonder why these hoods
opened fire in the street in the first place when all they had
to do was knock on his front door. The whole movie is
kind of stupid like that. Everything the squad is doing
is secret, nobody knows they exist, except when something goes
wrong now everybody knows they exist, except when everything
happens like you know it is, now nobody knows they exist
anymore. Then we had to deal with O'Meara's awful
strategy for taking down Cohen, which basically consisted of
standing in the open shooting at dudes or running cars off of
roads, with the worst part being that this terrible plan
But I do believe if you go into this stupid ass movie knowing
it's a stupid ass movie, and man… it's going to be apparent
real quick that is one stupid ass movie, like the minute Sean
Penn opens his mouth… then one can kind of enjoy this stupid
ass movie. I know I did. Kind of. In a
Sure I was hoping for the whole Brian De Palma 'Untouchables'
vibe, with the only thing Team Fleischer was able to pull off
were the real nice suits in relationship to that movie, but
once you know you're not getting that and you realize that
instead we are watching a super violent version of a Rocky and
Bullwinkle cartoon, 'Gangster Squad' is kind of fun.
For instance, Coleman the Black dude is like a ninja. He
can throw a blade with dead-eye accuracy from a good 100 yards
away. That's something only a ninja can do and ninjas in
period gangster flicks are fun. Watching Emma Stone, who
looks like she's sixteen in this movie, vamp it up was also
fun. The final salvo, which consisted of stupid
gangsters standing out in the open sucking up bullets, while
shooting like storm troopers was borderline awesome. And
of course there's challenge of figuring out which our gang
busters won't make it. I got it right.
All I'm saying is that while 'Gang Squad' isn't what I would
call a classically good movie, and it is kind of a terrible
gangster movie, it is slick, action filled, and violent, which
does add up to entertainment value.