GANGSTER SQUAD

January 13, 2013


"When I came here I was nothing, back home I was a gangster, now I'm GOD."
What makes a good mobster movie? Series of guns used by fully suited crew of ruthless men with cigarettes and pretty woman in teasing red lips? Well, "Zombieland"s Ruben Fleischer got it all covered, even with an addition of fedoras and fine zoot suits. But then, how am I supposed to say about the ridiculously pointless and stupid (everything) aspects, as well as the costume party in cartoon colors instead of dark shadowy noir?

The story is quite simple : a group of undercover LAPD (with no intention of getting credits whatsoever) in late 40's, led by a a-minute-quick decision maker who seems to have stony brain, Sgt. John O'Mara (Josh Brolin), is trying to knock down LA's 'sweetboy', Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) and his empires. And they do have a special technique for achieving that : they raid Cohen's casinos, burn pile of cash, intercept Cohen's drug shipment, all rather than assembling a case against Cohen, legitimated by law. In their 'quest', they face a lot of problem of course; you can mention giddy love, corrupt cops, and the wives. So, the question will be : will they succeed? Indeed you have to watch the movie by yourself, because I'm not spoiling anything for free here.

"Based on a true story" is a sacred word that'll surely drawn mass to the theatre. But, does the movie inspired by journalist Paul Lieberman's book "Gangster Squad : Covert Cops, The Mob, and The Battle for Los Angeles" will actually drawn people with its golden cast, rather than bragging about the based-on-true-story bullshit? I'm afraid I have to say it's fairly dissapointing, a huge frustation. I mean, with such talent, this movie could be so much more than this.

Watching this movie is like watching your boyfriend sitting in front of the computer, playing pointless video game, tapping keyboard arrow randomly for some actions, compulsive killing, failed krav maga and inexperienced gunshots; just non stop violence that gets sillier and more stupid each minutes. It is decorated with laughably clich├ęd, enjoyable bad acting, corny plot turns, uninspiring and thoughtless finale, yet with horrible chemistry between the cast. My questions will always be : Did Fleischer want to make another Zombieland (it'll be Gangland) but cheesier or he still had hiccups of bringing superheroism against zombies, er mobs?

It is enjoyable, I can't deny. It's a bold move to release a rated-R movie among those PG-13. My favorite will be the time when O'Mara assembling the team (remember Fast Five and of course, The Avengers?). But then again, it's very frustating that Fleischer had such talents (Penn, Gosling, Stone, Brolin) and made it like he has only one hundred thousand dollar budget to both pay the talents and make the movie. I had had enough with Penn's duck face; it's irritating. Cohen supposed to be that vicious and cruel but respected ex-boxer with such reputations among media, as well as in LA. He's supposed to be full of charisma and power, an intimidating persona, not a rich fool that has nothing to do but ordering someone to shoot someone while eating steak. Then, there's O'Mara. I'm upset with O'Mara; how does he have such heart to perform such a task when there's a baby in the way? And seriously Brolin, you should losen up a little bit, I could sense your tense all over your ironed suit. Gosling and Emma? Uh uh, just some sugar frostings on the 5-days-old cupcakes, no harm done. The rest of the crew? How can I remember. They indeed are sidekicks and forgettable. The stand out performance exactly coming from Mireille Enos who roled O'Mara's wife, Connie. She's unforgettable character; tough-ass detective's wife, handpicked and assembling a team for her beloved husband, while trying to be bulletproof and delivering a baby in a tub.

Finally, I can say that Gangster Squad is 113 minutes full of wincing and synical laugh. It's bad, but enjoyable. How can I say this? I don't recommend you to watch it, but I want you to watch it. So?


RATING : 2 OUT OF 5



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