Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
Published January 12th 2013
Style triumphs over substance in Gangster Squad, a slick evocation of late 1940's Los Angeles.
A starry roster of actors all register strongly in terms of charisma, but the characters are completely of the default-setting variety. It's cops against robbers (and crooked cops) and there's really only a certain amount of gun fighting you can stand before your senses are dulled and you just don't care anymore.
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone get to rekindle their Crazy Stupid Love on-screen affair, repping one of two romances that ironically are the most interesting thing in the film. The other is the relationship between Josh Brolin's hero cop and his wife, played by Mireille Enos, who looks uncannily like a young Faye Dunnaway. That's not to say this is a chick-flick by any stretch of the imagination. The violence is constant and graphic and likely to turn off a large portion of the population.
The film has already had its release delayed once and had a scene deleted due to its resemblance to the Colorado cinema shooting last year. The scene was re-shot several months later and its setting relocated to LA's Chinatown district. That doesn't make the remaining violence any more palatable.
This is a solid, old-school crime drama, but feels like a step backward for director Fleischer after the exhilaratingly clever Zombieland. The production design is nice and the acting is first rate, just don't expect anything special.