Have I seen too many movies? I ask this question because it seems to me that more often than not when I walk out of a film I feel apathetic. Gangster Squad is a perfect example of this cinematic ennui.
The actors give a great performance and have a good chemistry together. The film looks good and sounds good—it’s technical execution is great. Blah, blah, blah…
But the story is so formulaic I found myself ticking off the moments of the film like I was back in middle school working on a plot map. It was too damned predictable. The plot was equivalent to giving your two-week notice. I checked out as soon as I knew what was coming.
Worse still, the danger the “Gangster Squad” faced didn’t seem all that dangerous. They got away with MAYBE a few scratches. Mostly they just blew in to these strong holds, or drug shipments, or what have you, kicked ass and walked away.
Oh, and here’s a big head scratcher, the Gangster Squad didn’t kill people. They’d rough them up real good like, but didn’t kill them. Which makes one wonder how could they continue to get the drop on Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) when all his thugs could identify them? Granted, they might not know them by name, but they could point them out. True, Micky Cohen ended up killing a few of his thugs who dropped the ball, but eventually Cohen would have said, “This shit is ridiculous. Can you point these fucks out? A’ight, then. Go comb the streets and don’t come back until you have their heads” (or some such gangster shit).
The big boss fight at the end is complete horse shit. If John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) had an arrest warrant why wouldn’t he have police backup. Even if there were corrupt officer, they ALL weren’t bought and paid for. A big shoot out with the good guys vs the bad guys is good cinema, but an eye sore of contrivance.
For a true story, this doesn’t ring true at all. Or, perhaps, this is exactly how things happened. We are talking about LA.