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Review: Gangster Squad

Updated: Friday, January 11 2013, 09:58 PM CST

Grade: C

Channeling L.A. Confidential's, Gangster Squad delivers action and some laughs. The cinematography and production value is excellent, but it definitely won't go down in film's history as one of the best mob stories, even though it’s loosely based on historical events.  The plot is laking, however Sean Penn gives an honorable performance as the head mobster.

Directed by Ruben Fleischer, known for Zombieland, the setting is 1949 in Los Angeles and Sergeant John O'Mara (Josh Brolin) is instructed by the Chief to organize a group to work outside the law to capture East Coast mobs that are establishing operations.  He joins together with 5 other characters that include Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), Officer Coleman Harris (Anthony Mackie),  Officer Conway Keller (Giovanni Ribisi) Officer Max Kennard (Robert Patrick) and his Hispanic sidekick, Officer Navidad Ramirez (Michael Peña).  Their main objective is to take down former boxer, Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), who wants to be king and will take out whoever stands in his way.  His girl, Grace Faraday (Emma Stone), starts up a romance with Sgt. Wooters, but is too scared to leave Cohen.

Gangster Squad is a fun ride.  Patrick and Pena bring comic relief and Stone and Gosling took the chemistry they shared in Crazy, Stupid, Love and jumped in a time machine to head back 6 decades.  It’s more L.A. Confidential than The Untouchables, but there’s no twists or surprises, just an entertaining, action film.  It won't go down as a classic, but you will be gratified for the 2 hours of your time.    


Ken's Movie Review Grading Scale

A – Superb and solid; a movie that will be etched in your mind 10 years from now

B – Good movie, so good in fact that you would want to see it again before it's out of the theaters; the story may drag in places

C – Average, entertaining at parts; you might want to wait and rent it

D – Lacks a lot from entertainment, plot, realism, development, etc.

F – Terrible and you will want to walk out of the movie; no redemptive qualities whatsoever

By Ken WilsonReview: Gangster Squad


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