Posted on 6/16/13 10:48 PM
I've often wondered what would happen if "Sky Captain: and the world of tomorrow" and "Sin City" were fused into one movie. "Gangster Squad" is the proverbial bull-in-the-China-shop that has itself confused with a glossy period-piece. The result of months of re-edits and pushed-back release dates is a film that has absolutely nothing to say and manages to say it poorly. Granted, Sean Penn and Ryan Gosling got the memo on how to adapt their inflection to fit the times. Josh Brolin seemed like he was channeling his inner 1980's action hero and Emma Stone offered only the occasional distraction to a film that didn't seem to have any space for her.
I've said this about many films; I've even said this about many films that I've reviewed: this could have been a really great experience. The outcome however was loud, lazy and dull. There's a misconception out there that in order to make a well-crafted action movie, the higher the body count and the more frequent the explosions the better. Certain movie verisimilitudes end up painting pictures that have an opportunity to break the chains of conformity and making them lifeless. "Gangster Squad" had no-one to root for because we were too occupied with following the next shoot-out, the next act of arson, the next public explosion. What the movie was missing was a perspective. Mickey Cohen was repulsive, yet we knew nothing about him. The only member of the "Gangster's Squad" name that I knew was Ryan Gosling's character, and that was because he couldn't enter a scene without someone ballyhooing it.
Simply story with an even simpler cast of characters is what this films' legacy will ultimately be. Pulp or no pulp, it ultimately wasn't entertaining enough to excuse its lack of characterization. The attention to detail and the fire-fights couldn't overcome a script void of emotion and a cast that wasn't asked to do anything except look good in three-piece suits.