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Sunday, 13 January 2013

Gangster Squad

Inspired by true events; Gangster Squad's entertainment fails to hide the lack of originality.

Set in 1940s  Los Angeles, members of the LAPD join forces to align against the corruptness within Micky Cohen; a despicable kingpin of the Mafia.

In an era when doo-wop slash jazz music echoed the streets, Los Angeles is also slave to Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) and the Mafia; a no holds barred affiliation that gains its notorious reputation through laundering money and drugs. Destined for full control over Los Angelas, and with the help of the police department and local Judges, Mickey thrives on striking fear into the people of Los Angeles by way of intimidation and serious bodily harm.

On the other end of the stick is Sgt John O'Mara (Josh Brolin), an experienced cop but a rookie in LA's criminal jurisdiction. His ambition is witnessed through his "loose cannon" personality as he is hell bent on destroying Mickey, despite warnings from his department. However John gets the opportunity of his career; an off the books "guerrilla warfare" style operation that includes the gathering of LAPD cops to help crack the illegal operations of the Mafia. The humorous and serious are introduced when the pessimistic persona of Jerry Lewis (Ryan Gosling) signs up, leading the way for individuals such as Coleman (Anthony Mackie), comic book hero Max (Robert Patrick) and Ramirez (Michael Peña). The gangster squad is eventually formed and quite convinced in their plan to tackle the most dangerous man in America.

Gangster Squad gets off the mark quickly, but too quick in my opinion. The squad is formed and  easily convinced which leads to poor chemistry from all the characters because of the lack of development from each person. However the movie supplies an unexpected ingredient of comedy that takes away the seriousness and overall operation at hand. From the off the blending of cheesy one-liners from Brolin's super cop lets you know what you are in for in relation to the creation of characters. Sean Penn's presence as Mickey Cohen takes you back and forward as the movie ignites a dark premise whenever he is on screen.

Ryan Gosling gives his typical performance but surprising as it was not great, but wasn't bad either (which I have never said about his past performances). His acting credentials and his movie catalogue might be the reason he is included as the cheesy playboy as a relationship develops between him and Grace (Emma Stone). Grace brings an unbelievable level of sexiness to the film but I couldn't help but view her overall appearance as quite irrelevant. In the mix of all that is going on, and although affiliated with Mickey Cohen, she wouldn't be missed if she was removed. Okay I get it, she is a very attractive lady, but in the mist of 100 minutes of gun powder, I felt there was no room for her greatness. It came down to the exaggeration, and yet over the top action sequences that I felt led to her lack of attention and presence.

Their is a huge cast including Giovanni Ribisi who takes charge of the communications within the squad; as well as many more who showed their face and left.

Gangster Squad is highly enjoyable, with Sean Penn leading the way supporting an imitation of Guy Pearce's character in Lawless (Pearce is also the reason I praised Lawless). The antagonist stands out once again, and really, with the cast at hand, he shouldn't have. A story inspired by events as we know, Gangster Squad supplied some great shoot-outs and car chases, it just lacked a plot with depth and a shortage of character development. We have seen it before in The Untouchables as it supports all the nostalgic cliche's that gangster movies had thought us in the past.

Overall: Nothing we haven't seen already, Gangster Squads' rushed plot appears weak; however the graphic content, consistent gunpowder, car chases and fist fights are enough to keep you entertained.


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