Gangster Squad

2013

Gangster Squad

Critics Consensus

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

32%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 202

57%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 128,207
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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 outsiders led by Sgt. John O'Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen's world apart. -- (C) Warner Bros

Cast

Ryan Gosling
as Sgt. Jerry Wooters
Josh Brolin
as Sgt. John O'Mara
Nick Nolte
as Chief Parker
Sean Penn
as Mickey Cohen
Michael Peña
as Officer Navidad Ramirez
Emma Stone
as Grace Faraday
Anthony Mackie
as Officer Coleman Harris
Giovanni Ribisi
as Officer Conwell Keeler
Robert Patrick
as Officer Max Kennard
Holt McCallany
as Karl Lockwood
Mireille Enos
as Connie O'Mara
Troy Garity
as Wevrock
James Hebert
as Mitch Racine
Michael Papajohn
as Mike "The Flea"
Jeff Wolfe
as Giovanni Vacarezza
Anthony Molinari
as Lorenzo Molinari
Neil Koppel
as Max Solomon
Jack McGee
as Lt. Quincannon
Evan Jones
as Neddy Herbert
James Carpinello
as Johnny Stomp
Lucy Davenport
as Slapsy Maxie's Singer
Sullivan Stapleton
as Jack Whalen
John Aylward
as Judge Carter
Dennis Cockrum
as Elmer Jackson
Jack Conley
as Sheriff Biscailuz
Brandon Molale
as Jimmy "Bockscar" Knox
Riel Paley
as City Hall Reporter
Ambyr Childers
as Milk-Skinned Blonde
Michael C. Mahon
as City Hall Reporter
Mac Brandt
as Bruiser
David Fleischer
as City Hall Reporter
Josh Pence
as Officer Daryl Gates
De'aundre Bonds
as Duke Del-Red
Haley Strode
as Keeler's Wife
Scott Beehner
as Club Figaro Reporter
Matt Knudsen
as Club Figaro Reporter
Lucas Fleischer
as Club Figaro Reporter
Jon Polito
as Dragna
Lance Barber
as Comanche
Dale Gibson
as Burbank Cop
Rick Marcus
as Burbank Cop
Caz Milostan
as Desk Officer
Don Harvey
as Officer Funston
Darrell Craig Davis
as Officer Wyler
Anthony De Longis
as Burbank Jail Thug
Michael Owen
as Burbank Jail Thug
Tom Hallick
as El Dorado Investor
Christopher Doyle
as Edgar Beaumont
Max Daniels
as Jeffrey Clark
Danny Wynands
as Grenade Goon
Derek Mears
as Bridge Goon
Yvette Tucker
as Carmen Miranda
Derek Graf
as El Dorado Guard
Anne Marie Leighton
as Crying Woman
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News & Interviews for Gangster Squad

Critic Reviews for Gangster Squad

All Critics (202) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (64) | Rotten (138)

Audience Reviews for Gangster Squad

  • Dec 29, 2016
    ryan gosling surrounded by lots of explosions.
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer
  • Feb 09, 2016
    This film just confirmed for me not to always listen to Rotten Tomato's reviews. The reviewers seem to feed off each other lately and not make reviews for themselves. This was a really entertaining film. It had a really good cast and a simple script. The level of violence is not for everyone, but the characters were great.
    Jon L Super Reviewer
  • Nov 12, 2014
    I loved this based-on-a-true story American good vs. evil saga. Reminiscent of The Untouchables and LA Confidential, this gritty, stylish film is more melodramatic though. This is gripping entertainment, not realism. The all-star cast is great, both the stars and the supporting characters as well. Sean Penn's craggy features and real-life tough guy persona make him perfect for the role as crime boss Mickey Cohen. Josh Brolin is a good foil to Penn's character and a compliment to Ryan Gosling's character. Much like the characters played by Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce in LA Confidential, the are two very different types of cops. Penn's Cohen is better than even most Bond villains in his vision of domination. Emma Stone I is certainly beautiful and a good femme fatale in this movie, torn between love and the gritty reality of the LA underworld. Robert Patrick, Michael Pena, and Haley Strode, among others, offered up memorable contributions. The squad's even multi-racial! I'd like to have seen more of Nick Nolte; he's fantastic in roles like this- see The Tin Red Line, Mulholland Falls, and the 2 48 hours movies. He even spoofs the type in Tropic Thunder. "Los Angeles is my fu*#in destiny roars Sean Penn's Mickey Cohen, and you believe he means it. The destiny of LA is up for grabs in 1949, and no tactic is too brutal for either side to employ in this battle for supremacy. I identify with the cops, the streetwise enforcers from another era, reminiscent of Dirty Harry exclaiming, "I'm all broken up about his rights!" The final shootout is good, but probably not not as memorable as Scarface .That film sets the standard for operatic shootout/death scenes. Recommended for action fans.
    Clintus M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 25, 2013
    The latest effort from Director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) is the film adaptation of Paul Lieberman's book Gangster Squad (which is in turn somewhat based on actual events during 1940's post-war Los Angeles). For this kind of high-profile Action/Drama, it was good to see Hollywood not be too shy of the blood. Here in Australia we have an MA15+ rating, and that's what it's there for, so go nuts, guys! (I have a whole 'nother issue with film restriction classifications, but let's not go into that right now). I'm a sucker for continuous shots, and though Gangster Squad was hardly in the Children of Men category there, it was nice to see Fleischer chuck a few of them in too. I was glad to see that things were flawed in the plans set out by the film's protagonists. The first cop that leading man, Sergeant O'Mara (played by a man I'm fast becoming fond of; Josh Brolin -Men in Black 3, True Grit, Jonah Hex, W., American Gangster, Planet TerrorNo Country for Old Men, The Dead Girl, Hollow Man, Mimic, Nightwatch) tries to hire, flat out turns him down, and the teams' first operation goes completely tits up in the extreme. It added a good element of realism, that just because these guys are "badass" doesn't mean they're immune to outside influences. No plan survives first contact with the enemy, after all. In the middle there, it's also kind of a feel good movie. I mean, it's "feel good" in the same way that The Dark Knight Rises is "feel good", in that it is, for a brief moment, a little inspiring. It paints this cool picture about doing something bigger than yourself. Maybe that's not "feel good" at all... But it makes you feel something, and that's more than can be said for the majority of swill spilling out of the "Blockbuster" elements in the industry. Nick Nolte (Warrior, Tropic Thunder, Hotel Rwanda, Hulk) as Police Chief Parker was... A surprise. Though admittedly a pleasant one. Whatever your opinion on his personal life, he's still (at nearly 72) a perfectly capable actor at times, and his character was quite possibly my favourite of the film. Emma Stone (Movie 43, Easy A, Zombieland) is also slowly forcing me to like her after this and The Amazing Spider-Man. Holt McCalany (Bullet to the Head, Heroes, Fight Club, Three Kings, Alien 3) as Karl Lennox is honestly great. His character is such a bad-ass, but is shamefully underused, it might be nice one day to see McCallany as something other than a good looking muscle-man, offsiding with little to no lines (his character here is virtually identical to that of his as Wade in The Losers). Despite singing those praises, I didn't exactly love Gangster Squad. It was painfully obvious who was gonna be dying later, as time went on, in many cases it even became perfectly clear exactly when and why they were gonna die, long before it ever happened. A lot of the lines were just as predictable, if not more so. I found myself saying their speeches in my head before they had the time to finish, despite my having approximately zero knowledge of 1949 gang warfare. It reeks of morbid unoriginality. Though I suppose with a screen adaptation of a book based on real-life, there's only so much originality goin' around. It, unfortunately just got more and more predictable as time went on. On gang warfare, I'd think that really "Gangster Squad" should probably have been "Mobster Squad" I mean, after all, that's really what the time period was about. Plus, I almost didn't watch the movie by failings of its title alone, I mean... Come on! "Gangster Squad"? Ugh. Thankfully (or not, depending on how you look at it) the title is terribly misleading. Think in terms of "Drug Squad" rather than "Gangs of New York". Their freeze-frame fight in the middle there was obviously meant to be some grand, dramatic entry, but I honestly found it to be nothing but annoying as fuck. Not to mention the fact that there are some awful camera rushes and the CGI smoke is just of an appalling quality. And I really think we should have reached a point in technology where films that have actual money should really have no excuse for using bad blue-screen. I mean, this is really simple stuff people, you learn that shit in Primary School. And though I'll admit that kicking the shit out of a high ranking cop, in front of other cops, was a good way to portray the power Mickey Cohan had, I still can't get behind the choice of casting him with Sean Penn (All the Kings Men, The Interpreter, 21 Grams, I Am Sam, Carlito's Way), not at all. There are also a hefty goddamn amount of potholes, or points where the plot was dropped all together! No spoilers, but how Cohan ever figured out who was responsible for the events of the film, I'll never know. And when you spend half a film trying to achieve a goal, and then your characters achieve it, shouldn't there be some sort of pay off? Apparently not, in Gangster Squad, it is bad, for, again, absolutely no reason. Though certainly watchable on all accounts, Gangster Squad was hardly something I'll make a habit of recommending. 53 % -Gimly
    Gimly M Super Reviewer

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