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Gangster Squad (2013)



Average Rating: 5/10
Reviews Counted: 194
Fresh: 62 | Rotten: 132

Though it's stylish and features a talented cast, Gangster Squad suffers from lackluster writing, underdeveloped characters, and an excessive amount of violence.


Average Rating: 4.6/10
Critic Reviews: 43
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 37

Though it's stylish and features a talented cast, Gangster Squad suffers from lackluster writing, underdeveloped characters, and an excessive amount of violence.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 127,064

My Rating

Movie Info

Los Angeles, 1949. Ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and-if he has his way-every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians who are under his control. It's enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop...except, perhaps, for the small, secret crew of LAPD



Apr 23, 2013


Warner Bros. - Official Site External Icon

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Latest News on Gangster Squad

July 16, 2013:
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The Joel Silver-produced thriller, directed by Pierre Morel, will also star Javier Bardem, Idris...
January 10, 2013:
Critics Consensus: Gangster Squad Is Style Over Substance
This week at the movies, we've got tough cops (Gangster Squad, starring Sean Penn and Ryan Gosling),...


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All Critics (194) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (62) | Rotten (132) | DVD (2)

Gangster Squad looks the part, but it's so superficial it practically evaporates before our eyes.

February 5, 2013 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Some of the clothes and makeup feel as glossy as paint, but, those aside, we seem to browsing through a display of secondhand goods.

January 21, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It might sound like a stretch, imagining Penn playing that intense, indiosyncratic a villain. But the lauded, veteran actor pulls a left hook, then a right, and after a wild bodyshot at the tail end of the film, you see the true mania behind his eyes.

January 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Ruben Fleischer and screenwriter Will Beall can't decide whether to make a spoof or a serious drama, so they wrongheadedly attempt both.

January 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Gangster Squad" is a highly stylized, pulp-fiction period piece based on true events.

January 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Richard
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite a cast of gifted actors, lush 1940s production design and suave costumes, it's bereft of inspiration, plowing familiar terrain past the point of tedium to impatience.

January 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Probably the year's most squandered cast, in a boring, by-the-numbers crime film that plays like a fifth-generation re-do of "L.A. Confidential,"

December 26, 2013 Full Review Source: EntertainmentTell

A nod toward nostalgia, a grandiose display of the arrogance of the present: this seems to be the whole program of Gangster Squad.

November 4, 2013 Full Review Source: The Nation
The Nation

An entertaining but wholly unspectacular flick that can't seem to figure out if it wants to be The Untouchables or Dick Tracy.

October 5, 2013 Full Review Source:

Flitting between over-the-top violence, grim moral posturing, and matinee thrills, this is a broad, two-dimensional crime noir that thinks it's deeper and smarter than it is.

July 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Twitch

The film is never anything less than watchable, largely because of its seductively stylish look and bevy of charismatic actors.

May 13, 2013 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

"Gangster Squad" is like "The Untouchables" without a heart. De Palma delivered the goods on Ness and company. The goods were hijacked in this gangster tale.

May 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Chambers
Movie Chambers

Although it's blunt and brisk in its own inoffensive way, "Gangster Squad" is meathead cinema - the sort that cuts hard from a splattered brain to spatula-pressed hamburger. Unlike that grilled patty, the movie is mostly sizzle, little steak.

May 5, 2013 Full Review Source:

Makes 1991′s "Mobsters" look like "The Godfather" in comparison.

April 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Ruben Fleischer's Gangster Squad attempts to recreate mobster magic, but ends up fumbling into an endless amount of clichés and some horrid digital photography to boot.

April 23, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

While pretty and often entertaining, Gangster Squad's a violent urban western that gets lost in the fog of homage.

March 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Movies With Butter
Movies With Butter

Those looking for the depth and complexity of the best of the genre are in the wrong place, but take Gangster Squad for what it is and it's not a bad way to spend an evening.

March 18, 2013 Full Review Source:

Do not try to fight off the running "this is the City of Angels" commentary; you will lose. Here, the good guys win, the bad guys earn their comeuppance, the dames look pretty and the dopey dialogue shoves a grapefruit in your face and shuts you up.

March 11, 2013 Full Review Source:

The end result is a passable - just barely - thriller that benefits substantially from the efforts of its star-heavy cast...

March 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Gangster Squad verges on a parody of hard-boiled noir in the vein of the Scary Movie/Date Movie/Epic Movie films, only with real A-list star power; it's a funny old mixture.

March 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4

A violent and cartoonish take on the '40s gangster scene in LA.

March 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Concrete Playground
Concrete Playground

It should all be a lot more fun than it is, or at least as rollicking as "Zombieland," Fleischer's clever 2009 outing. Some pious soul-searching near the end is altogether insufferable.

February 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Bloomberg News
Bloomberg News

Mistura de Os Intocáveis, Los Angeles - Cidade Proibida e Scooby-Doo.

February 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

It's fitting that 'Gangster' Squad deals with crime because charging admission to this torpid film is robbery.

February 2, 2013 Full Review Source: KC Active
KC Active

Will it win any awards for 2013? Well, no. But 'Gangster Squad,' a shoot-'em-up nod to pulp thrillers, will provide solid entertainment for fans of crime dramas.

February 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

Audience Reviews for Gangster Squad

A hard-nosed cop sick of the apathetic and corrupt police department is selected to head a special team charged with driving an underworld boss out of business and out of town. Gangster Squad was not particularly well received upon its release, but I suspect that the post war setting and visual style of Film Noir meant that many critics were expecting another Chinatown or L.A. Confidential. But it's called "Gangster Squad" for god's sake! If you watch it for what it is, namely a comic strip action movie with some nice vintage fashions, it's a pretty entertaining gangster flick that's more Dick Tracy than Sam Spade. In fact the whole feel of the film is more that of a western than a cop film and seems in places to be trying to be The Magnificent Seven with Tommy guns. It never addresses the morality of the squad's dubious methods so can hardly be considered as gritty and realistic and it does get a little mawkish in places, but it's a fast-paced, action packed and visually appealing slice of Pulp Fiction that consistently entertains. True it's no L.A. Confidential, but it never pretends to be and it's a lot better than Brian DePalma's absurdly over-rated The Untouchables.
June 17, 2014
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Fedoras on, lock n load those tommy guns. So you have the new 'Die Hard' film or this, what's it gonna be? the choice is obvious, take a hike 'McClane' you have been retired. Never mind all this PG-13 crapola, this film is where its at and it kicks ass I shit you not. Even cooler is the fact the whole thing is based loosely on real events! yeah there's the door 'McClane', use it.

The plot is as basic as A B C, Mobster chief 'Mickey Cohen' (Sean Penn) rules LA with a sadistic grip. He whacks people like no ones business and usually does it in the most gruesome way just to make sure. In order to combat this an ex special Ops Sgt is asked to pick his own team of skilled guys and take down Cohen any way possible, smash his underworld no questions asked.

The film opens with a brutal execution by Cohen and his men, this is then followed by a brutal bust by 'O Mara' against Cohen's men. Straight away your attention is grabbed by the scruff of the neck and you can see this film will be chock full of 40's period set ball busting...'Die Hard' what now??.

From this simple premise comes a highly predictable yet highly violent action thriller which mixes the gun toting mayhem of 'Last Man Standing' with the small team work of 'The Untouchables'. You could almost call this a sequel or remake of that classic Kevin Costner period thriller. The similarities are close from O Mara's wife wanting him stop the fight, the obligatory recruitment sequences, the rants of revenge from Cohen and the take down montages. The whole thing plays out like an extreme adult version of 'Dick Tracy'.

The films doesn't pretend to be anything but a near virtual graphic novel adaptation. Its not but you could be mistaken for thinking so, its fast with the action and light on the plot. The visuals are moody and slick, action and violence is highly stylised, the villains are obvious and pug ugly, Brolin looks every bit the action hero with his thick sturdy looking neck and prominent square jaw, Nolte is the gruff well built Chief and Penn is so over the top evil you'd think he was up against 'The Punisher'. I haven't seen someone chew up the scenery like Penn here for ages, he snarls, grimaces, scowls and bellows his way into the evil villain hall of fame.

In short the film is realistic in terms of style, sets, costumes, weapons etc...but very much over the top leaning towards comicbook. The team of 'Untouchables' are your standard fare too I dare say, the token black guy who is good with knives, the cowboy looking sharp six shooter played by Patrick, the token Mexican (for the West coast) played by Pena, Gosling as the ladies man and Ribisi as the brains behind the team. A League of Extraordinary errr...Elliot Ness type blokes who would be fighting Capone if they were in Chicago...type blokes.

Despite the fact this is based on reality the film simply does not try to be anything else other than a violent period set action thriller, you can smell it from the opening sequence, hell the title says it all. Brolin is so damn butch he made me feel ashamed of myself, the only things missing here that could of made it even better are Joe Pesci, Billy Drago and a Morricone score...damn son!.

'light em up'
April 21, 2014

Super Reviewer

Not for kids, and not for film snobs. This is a decent lights-out, bowl-of-popcorn, nothing-better-to-do movie. A little bit of L.A. Confidential. A little bit of Dick Tracy. Not award winning by an means, but enjoyable enough.
January 21, 2014

Super Reviewer

November 22, 2013

Super Reviewer

    1. Sgt. Jerry Wooters: Who's the tomato?
    – Submitted by J M (14 months ago)
    1. Sgt. John O'Mara: It's not paradise but it is the City of Angels
    – Submitted by Alec L (17 months ago)
    1. Sgt. Jerry Wooters: What happened to him?
    2. Sgt. John O'Mara: He resisted.
    3. Sgt. Jerry Wooters: What happened to them?
    4. Sgt. John O'Mara: They resisted.
    – Submitted by Alfonso P (17 months ago)
    1. Mickey Cohen: Here comes Santa Clause!
    – Submitted by Eli T (17 months ago)
    1. Sgt. Jerry Wooters: Don't go.
    2. Grace Faraday: Don't let me.
    – Submitted by Eli T (17 months ago)
    1. John O'Mara: You lose everything, you win the war, you're a hero. You lose everything, you lose the war, you're just a fool.
    – Submitted by Kylie W (18 months ago)
View all quotes (29)

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