Gangster Squad Reviews
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.
Fleischer's noir-influenced focus on O'Mara and Cohen offers hints of interesting commentary about Hollywood's historical visions of good and evil. But it's a strong starting point that fizzles by the finale.
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.
'So it's a shame that "Gangster Squad" is nothing like a good old-fashioned gangster picture. While it's a period piece that clearly relishes its evocation of neon-bright Los Angeles in 1949, it's hardly old-fashioned. And it's no good at all ...
Gangster Squad's violence has a graphic, contemporary feel that's at odds with the vintage crime pics the film wants to celebrate. This isn't the heavy-handed CG-noir of Sin City, but even so, it feels fake.
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.
Bits and pieces here and there entertain. But it never really comes together in a satisfying way, and given the talent involved, that adds up to a big disappointment.