I'll start by saying that I'm a sucker for a good gangster film. The Untouchables, Goodfellas, and Casino all sit high atop my list of all time favorite crime movies. Sadly, Gangster Squad won't. It's not that it's necessarily a bad movie, but it's not that good either. It's just another passable entry in a genre that's extremely hard to crack.
The lazily titled Gangster Squad is that same old cops vs. gangster boss story that's been told time and time again with interchangeable characters from many other films of the past. For a January release, it's better than most but it's not going to win any awards either.
Where the film is semi proficient is in it's casting choices. Sean Penn puts forth his best effort to steal every scene with his (near) iconic portrayal of Mickey Cohen. Josh Brolin also uses his talents to adapt to a lackluster script while Ryan Gosling seems to coast through this one without ever breaking a sweat. It's not that he's boring by any means. He just seems relatively uninspired with the material provided to him. Robert Patrick offers one of his most entertaining roles in years while other support actors just fall by the wayside. The out of place Emma Stone plays the damsel in distress but never really seems comfortable in the role.
Again, Gangster Squad is not the worst crime drama you're going to see this year. However, this one feels like it's been tinkered and toyed with and edited over and over again. It just doesn't have a natural flow and the tone seems to shift numerous times while all the actors do their best to carry the weight of a director's first jab at a gangster film. Most everything about the movie just felt lazy and somewhat inept at times.
I think I'll give it a second shot when it gets released on blu ray. My opinion may be swayed.
3 out of 5 -CG