ReviewWriter: Ng SuzhenWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“The Untouchables” and “Jack Reacher”
Sean Penn is terrific as Mickey Cohen, which of course, is nothing short of surprising considering this is Sean Penn we're talking about. He is the sole factor in the movie that comes to anything close to authenticity. The rest of the movie, well, it just falls into general studio fare.
When "Gangster Squad" was announced, it was widely thought that the story would chronicle the rise and fall of the elusive police team that took down big-time Los Angeles gangster, Cohen. While it is no Brian de Palma production, the film is no less entertaining for those accustomed to the normal Hollywood blockbusters.
For those expecting something more out of the proposed storyline, the outcome comes too close to an entertaining flick that doesn't reflect much realism on the work of the police team. It's pretty easy to figure out which character will get taken out on the get-go judging by the safe Hollywood formula the film has chosen to follow.
While the movie is easily enjoyable, you can't help but feel disappointed that none of the actors featured in the movie can actually match up to what Sean Penn has to offer. Josh Brolin does a good job playing Sgt. John O'Mara, the honour-bound soldier-turned-cop who is determined to clean up the town, but unfortunately is not given enough depth to showcase any dimension other than his dedication to do good.
The inner turmoil of loyalties being divided between your duty and family is not given full reign of expression as O'Mara's situation is highlighted but not really explored. His wife, the understanding and wise Connie (Mireille Enos), is the true brains behind picking the members of squad, which makes you wonder just how lost O'Mara can be without her. Her intelligence makes you shine towards her, even wishing to see more of her wisdom throughout the movie but the film really does have to make way for the rest of the squad.
There's the likable and charming Jeremy Wooters (Ryan Gosling) who is immediately smitten with Cohen's latest girl, Grace Faraday (Emma Stone). Their relationship, a threat to both their lives from the very start, suffers the same fate as O'Mara's relationship with his family - highlighted but not really explored.
The squad also includes detective Coleman Harris (Anthony Mackie), who is determined to see his neighbourhood free of drugs, wire-tapper Conway Keeler (Giovanni Ribisi), legendary sharp-shooter Max Kennard (Robert Patrick) and his partner slash apprentice, Navidad Ramirez (Michael Pena).
The team shines to each other too easily as they join forces without question and without fierce confrontations during conflicts, but the squad is enjoyable to watch together. At times, it is really quite a wonder that their unsophisticated plans are actually capable of taking down Cohen's empire. But like all Hollywood fare, the good mission to bring down evil is always a smooth-going one, regardless of how straight-shooting the plans can be.
Just refrain from taking "Gangster Squad" too seriously and you may just walk home happy from the movie.Cinema Online, 25 January 2013