Lite’s Movie Review Room

Gangster Squad


“Gangster Squad” stars Josh Brolin as a Los Angeles cop who tries to take down a ruthless mobster.


This is the latest film from Ruben Fleischer, who directed one of my favorite movies, “Zombieland.” He’s trying to create a new-wave film-noir with “Gangster Squad,” by following a traditional storyline but adding modern-day special effects. It sounds like a great idea but sadly doesn’t quite hit the mark.


“Gangster Squad” is based on the true story of Mobster Mickey Cohen, who tried to take over the L.A. crime scene after World War II, but was stopped by a secret crew of cops. Josh Brolin plays the leader of the Gangster Squad and recruits the likes of Ryan Gosling and Giovanni Ribisi. They provide some interesting buddy-cop moments but the story is ultimately forced into the background for more shoot-outs & car-chases.


There’s some terrific acting from Brolin and Mireille Enos who plays his wife, but some of the actors seem less committed to the material. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling have none of the chemistry they displayed in last years “Crazy Stupid Love.” They also seem to be realizing, along with the rest of us, that the movie they’re in isn’t very good.


“Gangster Squad” was supposed to open in the Fall but was pushed back to remove a movie theater shoot-out scene. There’s still plenty of stylized violence to go around, but not much else & that’s why I’m giving “Gangster Squad” a C-. Ruben Fleischer might have been going for a modern day “Chinatown,” but he ended up with “Dick Tracy.”


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