2013, Movies

Gangster Squad (2013, Ruben Fleischer)

This is a colossally dumb movie that wastes an absolutely fantastic cast.

I guess it tries to position itself as the LA version of The Untouchables for most of its run-time, but here are some of the idiotic bits that make it no match for that film:

  • there are so many cliche sentences you would die if you played a drinking game;
  • the expository dialogue is the worst – characters literally ask other characters to tell us who someone is or what something is;
  •  the casting is all wrong – either Brolin is too old for his role or Gosling is too young – initially I thought they should have switched roles, but Brolin is supposed to be older, later, it seems so maybe they just fucked up with who played which role early in the film;
  • everyone has knowledge of everyone else’s whereabouts as if the internet and cell phones exist – apparently the writers forgot what decade we’re in;
  • Penn’s accent definitely changes throughout the movie.

That’s just a brief sample, before I stopped keeping track, of some of the absolutely boneheaded decisions behind this movie. Now to the SPOILERS.

After the gang is ambushed, in the most transparent way, the film turns into a “One last ride” western where they attempt to reenact The Wild Bunch, only via The Untouchables and The Raid. Then, when Brolin’s character has won, and he’s arresting Cohen for murder – doing it the honest to goodness legal way, aside from all the deaths of course – he instead decides to box him, because Mickey Cohen was a boxer, how’s that for poetic justice!? Of course, in real life, Cohen was arrested for tax evasion – twice. But who cares about history? Why try to make a historical story interesting when we can just invent a new one using a guy’s name and have a bizarre climactic boxing match (with judo) next to a fountain in a park!



  • Directed by Ruben Fleischer
  • Produced by Dan Lin, Kevin McCormick, Michael Tadross
  • Screenplay by Will Beall, Based on Gangster Squad by Paul Lieberman
  • Starring:
    • Josh Brolin
    • Ryan Gosling
    • Sean Penn
    • Nick Nolte
    • Emma Stone
    • Anthony Mackie
    • Giovanni Ribisi
    • Michael Peña
  • Music by Steve Jablonsky
  • Cinematography Dion Beebe
  • Edited by Alan Baumgarten, James Herbert
  • Production company: Village Roadshow Pictures
  • Distributed by Warner Bros.
  • Release date: January 7, 2013
  • Running time: 113 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Budget: $75 million
  • Box office: $105.2 million

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