In 1949, when gangster Mickey Cohen seems to have an iron grip of Los Angeles. And no one is willing or alive to testify against him. So Police Chief Parker decides to form a special unit whose mission is to take down Cohen. He chooses Sgt. O’Mara, a World War 2, vet to lead the unit. O’Mara chooses 4 cops and asks another cop and WW2 vet, Jerry Wooters to join him but Wooters is not interested. But when he witnesses the murder of a young boy by Cohen’s people, he joins them, and they decide to take apart Cohen’s organization. Cohen wonders a rival is going after him, but eventually he realizes it’s the cops.
Film informationGenre: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
- New York Observer - by Rex Reed
The best thing about Gangster Squad is how they got the 1940s accoutrements right. ...read more
- Variety - by Peter Debruge
The cops play things as dirty as the crooks in Gangster Squad, an impressively pulpy underworld-plunger that embellishes on a 1949 showdown between a dedicated team of LAPD officers and Mob-connected Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) for control of the city. ...
- Philadelphia Inquirer - by Steven Rea
Penn's over-the-top tirades and bullying threats are still there - it's a wild and woolly performance that isn't always as menacing as perhaps the actor intended it to be. ...
- The Guardian - by Peter Bradshaw
For all the guns and gore, it's as breezy and uncritical as a tale from the True Detective magazine that the cops can't help reading. ...
- New York Daily News - by Elizabeth Weitzman
Instead of expanding their sights, Fleischer and Beall narrow them, into a repetitive and increasingly exhausting series of shootouts. By the end, those guns might as well be held by extras, rather than some of the most talented actors of our time. ...read more
- The Hollywood Reporter - by Todd McCarthy
Made up of synthetics rather than whole cloth, this lurid concoction superficially gets by thanks to a strong cast and jazzy period detail, but its cartoonish contrivances fail to convince and lack any of the depth, feeling or atmosphere of genre stand-bearers like "L.A. Confidential." ...read more
- Empire - by Nick de Semlyen
Sean Penn's not been this fun since Jeff Spicoli and there's plenty of rip-roaring action, but Gangster Squad proves a minor entry in the annals of LA noir. ...read more
- Christian Science Monitor - by Peter Rainer
Penn is always entertaining when he's playing characters drunk with depravity. Gangster Squad could use more of him. ...
- The Globe and Mail (Toronto) - by Rick Groen
The irony is worth noting: Back when it was really 1949, Hollywood made noir with teeth; this is nougat with pretensions. ...read more
- Miami Herald - by Connie Ogle
It's the cinematic equivalent of Bon Jovi's You Give Love a Bad Name: You know in your heart it's a crappy song, and every wince-inducing line is an affront to your intelligence, but hey, it's on the radio, so you turn up the volume and sing along anyway. ...read more
- New York Post - by Lou Lumenick
A cartoonish 1940s shoot-'em-up that's impossible to take seriously. ...
- San Francisco Chronicle - by Mick LaSalle
Josh Brolin plays the leader of the gangster squad as a kind of dedicated dunce, which is appropriate considering their clumsy antics. Ryan Gosling has more nuance as his right-hand man, but Emma Stone is completely out of her element as a slinky film noir heroine, a walking anachronism. ...read more
- USA Today - by Claudia Puig
In the last five minutes the film shifts gears and offers a tribute to law enforcement. But this tacked-on resolution is as sticky and fake as Sean Penn's make-up job. ...read more
- Salon.com - by Andrew O'Hehir
As a capable imitation of better movies by Martin Scorsese, Brian DePalma and Roman Polanski – it's reasonably successful entertainment. ...read more
- Boston Globe - by Wesley Morris
Gangster Squad is an almost movie. It's almost terrible. It's almost entertaining. But it's missing the shameless insanity of a wonderfully bad movie, and the particular vision, point of view, and coherence of some very good ones. So it sits there in between - loud, flashy, and unnecessary. ...read more
- Chicago Tribune - by Michael Phillips
A triumph of production design but a pretty dull kill-'em-up otherwise. ...read more
- Arizona Republic - by Bill Goodykoontz
It never really comes together in a satisfying way, and given the talent involved, that adds up to a big disappointment. ...
- Chicago Sun-Times - by Roger Ebert
To be fair, this tawdry dose of pulp fiction ("inspired by real events") is not a complete waste of time. It offers the marginal pleasure of an all-star cast slumming their way through a thicket of routine plotting, almost laughable dialogue and the constant blaze of tommy guns. ...
- Entertainment Weekly - by Owen Gleiberman
Brolin and Gosling are both supposed to be playing World War II veterans who bring their knowledge of battle into the tough turf of the streets, but that's just a concept that the sketchy, half-baked script tosses out there. ...read more
- Portland Oregonian - by Marc Mohan
Very few will remember it in a few months, which is probably just fine with the folks who made it. ...read more
- New York Magazine (Vulture) - by David Edelstein
The period thriller Gangster Squad plays like an untalented 12-year-old's imitation of Brian DePalma's "The Untouchables." ...read more
- Los Angeles Times - by Betsy Sharkey
The soul of the era is missing, and with it any reason to care. In Fleischer's hands, the high-stakes shootouts are as stylish as a GQ spread, but it's nearly impossible to figure out who's zoomin' who. ...
- Washington Post - by Ann Hornaday
Slick, sick, self-consciously stylish and defiantly shallow, Gangster Squad is one of those movies you can't talk about without invoking other (often better) movies. A lot of movies. ...read more
- Charlotte Observer - by Lawrence Toppman
It begins as energetic, clichéd nonsense and ends as irritating, clichéd nonsense. ...
- The A.V. Club - by Nathan Rabin
Gangster Squad aims for the pop-operatic intensity of "The Untouchables," but ends up feeling like a savage, simple-minded comic strip. ...read more
- The New Yorker - by Anthony Lane
The over-all result is a misstep for Fleischer. [21 Jan. 2013, p. 78] ...
- Wall Street Journal - by Joe Morgenstern
Mr. Beall, a former LAPD cop, has written a script so devoid of feeling that the cartoons blur into thin line drawings, while what's been done with the marvelous Ms. Stone - i.e. next to nothing - is downright criminal. ...
- Village Voice - by Nick Pinkerton
The proximity of horrible headlines scarcely matters - released on any day of any calendar year, Gangster Squad would be a crime against cinematic sensibility. ...read more
- Rolling Stone - by Peter Travers
This movie made my ears hurt. Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and James Ellroy could have turned this pulp into insinuating jazz. What's here is a cartoonish bore. ...read more
- The Playlist - by Charlie Schmidlin
In lieu of any sharp insight into the period and its notorious figures, the film's brash, ultraviolent encounters instead build a showy exterior with nothing of import left standing. ...read more
- Slant Magazine - by Glenn Heath Jr.
Ruben Fleischer's film is a perfect example of Hollywood hypocrisy, something to be ignored diligently. ...read more