Gangster Squad

User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 273 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 42 out of 273

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User Reviews

  1. Jan 23, 2013
    2
    Really surprised this film has so many positive ratings. Sure, it's a great movie...that should be nominated for Best Picture at the Raspberry Awards. All flash and no substance, which is what the majority of Hollywood dishes out anyway. Minus the big name actors, this movie could go straight to Redbox and nobody would notice.
  2. Feb 6, 2013
    3
    What went wrong? I saw the trailers for Gangster Squad and thought that this looks right up my street. Good collection of actors Penn, Gosling, Brolin tied to some lovely art design (I'm a sucker for 1940's America). This should be a great or at least decent slice of the cinema cake. Sadly, it's all frosting. When a film starts with a guy being ripped in half by 2 cars and another guyWhat went wrong? I saw the trailers for Gangster Squad and thought that this looks right up my street. Good collection of actors Penn, Gosling, Brolin tied to some lovely art design (I'm a sucker for 1940's America). This should be a great or at least decent slice of the cinema cake. Sadly, it's all frosting. When a film starts with a guy being ripped in half by 2 cars and another guy getting his hand ripped off by a lift, you may be expecting a gritty film. But Gangster Squad is all gloss and the violence, far from being helpful, detracts because its so comical. Think Sin City, but without the subtlety. It sets the scene for an film with a very uneven tone (is it character ensemble, action film, comic book, historical?) and a script that is so simple it would make the A-team look deep. With a gaping plot hole that is signposted miles away. There's very little to recommend here beyond the visuals. The characters are so cliche that the actors cant do any justice with them (Penn could well be basing his character on villains from Dick Tracy) and the twists have so little swerve that you know where the film is going long before you get there. There's nothing original here and nothing to keep you interested. A shame. Expand
  3. Apr 6, 2013
    1
    Pure garbage. It's a mystery how this cast agreed to such a poorly-designed premise. The result amounts to a complete waste of time. Watch something else.
  4. Feb 5, 2013
    0
    The movie fails to entertain period.
    The story-line is a seen it a million times before and it was done better.
    Characters are unbelievable, uninspiring and dull
    There are mediocre special effects thrown in hear and there like car chases and fist/gun fights.
    All in all do not recommend to anyone but people who have absolutely nothing else to do.
  5. Jan 23, 2013
    2
    If there was one movie in 2012 that I was most excited to see, it was Gangster Squad. The trailer had a distinct visual style that impressed me at the time, the cast could not have been any better, and it looked like a fun gangster film that would also be a great addition to the genre itself. Then when it was delayed to 2013 for re-shoots after the Aurora, Colorado shootings I wasIf there was one movie in 2012 that I was most excited to see, it was Gangster Squad. The trailer had a distinct visual style that impressed me at the time, the cast could not have been any better, and it looked like a fun gangster film that would also be a great addition to the genre itself. Then when it was delayed to 2013 for re-shoots after the Aurora, Colorado shootings I was disappointed to have to wait until 2013 for this movie. Well, I Expand
  6. Apr 6, 2013
    1
    Wow. How some people can rate this movie high goes beyond my imagination. But lets tell why this movie is just a disaster. A historically interesting story is turned into an avalanche of clichés, probably a candidate to one of the biggest considering the cast. Acting, despite this star cast, is absolutely terrible. Story is unlogical and the ending is just one enormous pile of clichécrap.Wow. How some people can rate this movie high goes beyond my imagination. But lets tell why this movie is just a disaster. A historically interesting story is turned into an avalanche of clichés, probably a candidate to one of the biggest considering the cast. Acting, despite this star cast, is absolutely terrible. Story is unlogical and the ending is just one enormous pile of clichécrap. I honestly felt like demanding my money back from seeing this at the cinema. If you want to see a gangster movie from the era, there are plenty of good options. This one is just horrible. Expand
  7. Apr 13, 2013
    3
    Gangster squad directed by Fleischer, a really bad movie, almost ridiculous, the director can not make a gangster film, stereotypical characters, in short, the movie is crap boring haphazard.
  8. May 24, 2013
    3
    All style & no substance. Fleischer & company waste the tremendous talents of this A-list ensemble cast so much that even the charismatic Gosling can't save it. -MN
  9. May 28, 2013
    2
    With a cast this great, and a premise so promising, one would expect this movie to be incredible. Unfortunately, this movie sucks big time. It's boring, overly long, and it does not utilize the great tools at its disposal. A real disappointment. Yuck.

    Rewatch LA Confidential instead of wasting your time with this drivel. It's a much better crime drama with in a similar setting.
  10. Aug 28, 2013
    1
    I had very high hopes for this movie. Unfortunately I couldn't tell if it was even meant to be a serious film or a spoof of mob movies. I feel like Fleischer was trying to make a Sin City version of The Untouchables and somehow wound up with The Dirty Dozen, but with even less soul. I understand that Gangster Squad is just an action film, but a little depth or even slightly cleaverI had very high hopes for this movie. Unfortunately I couldn't tell if it was even meant to be a serious film or a spoof of mob movies. I feel like Fleischer was trying to make a Sin City version of The Untouchables and somehow wound up with The Dirty Dozen, but with even less soul. I understand that Gangster Squad is just an action film, but a little depth or even slightly cleaver dialogue would have made this film worth watching. Expand
  11. Oct 25, 2015
    0
    Gangster Squad is a terrible, train wreck of a film.
    The acting is uniformly dreadful and the direction seems to have been done by a 1st year film student.
    Every genre cliche and stereotype is trotted out for your perusal to the point of inanity. Numerous and pointless gun battles (with the cliched slow motion) litter the movie. Sean Penn's makeup remind one of Big Boy Caprice from
    Gangster Squad is a terrible, train wreck of a film.
    The acting is uniformly dreadful and the direction seems to have been done by a 1st year film student.
    Every genre cliche and stereotype is trotted out for your perusal to the point of inanity.
    Numerous and pointless gun battles (with the cliched slow motion) litter the movie.
    Sean Penn's makeup remind one of Big Boy Caprice from Dick Tracy and Penn acts like Big Boy too.
    I've seen cheap "B" gangster films from the 50s & 60s that were more intelligent than this abomination
    Expand
  12. Dec 24, 2015
    3
    Life. What is life. We live in a time when life is not appreciated. It’s not cherished. We are the cattle. And the city, the city is our master…So Gangster Squad is trying to be a classic noir film full of mystery, intrigue, well developed characters and twists and turns at every turn right. Wrong. Gangster Squad is the truck driver’s version of modern classics like The Untouchables, OnceLife. What is life. We live in a time when life is not appreciated. It’s not cherished. We are the cattle. And the city, the city is our master…So Gangster Squad is trying to be a classic noir film full of mystery, intrigue, well developed characters and twists and turns at every turn right. Wrong. Gangster Squad is the truck driver’s version of modern classics like The Untouchables, Once Upon A Time In America, Carlito’s Way to name a few. The film is complete and utter trailer trash. It’s bound to be a top rental at dirty super gas stations along your state’s major interstates. The only thing grosser to look at would be the trailer stop hookers.

    Its’ as if the producers and directors set out to make a period film but never have once watched any of the movies that inspire this idea. On paper all the parts are there. Good assortment of actors. Some character actors and old veterans. There is a pretty female love interest for the ladies. And presumably a huge budget to work with. One can image great scenes recreated to bring the beauty and shine of the 40’s to life on the screen. Dare we say Oscar performances or the next Godfather? Nope. No way!

    In a bland and cookie cutter story line we follow the main protagonist who’s only real motivation is that he killed people in the war and can’t stop it. Or did we miss something. One of the real draws to the trucker crowd which this most surly be aimed is to use guns to fight gun violence. It shows nothing of the time period, the sensibilities, attitudes or history these characters are running around in. It’s not even that pretty to look at.

    Most of the film is shot in this pseudo film noir style but it just comes across too dark as if they did not have enough lights on set. Everything becomes muddy and blends end. There is not enough contrast or interest to keep your attention for more than a few moments. We get very brief establishing shots and the normal flow of scenes are all focused too close in to make an epic feel of a movie which the director was trying to achieve.

    At times the action is fun and exciting and you really want to get into it but the zoomed in camera angles make you want to turn away in fear of getting a seizure and puking on the person sitting next to you. One example is the car chase shootout. The camera bobbles and switches back and forth more quickly than a republican trying to avoid a question about climate change. These moves can either be stylized in which case people have really bad tastes that are making these new modern movies or that all the background is CGI and they want to hide it all so they are forced to film it in horrendous ways. How can the filmmakers sleep at night knowing this is the finished product? Audiences want to see a shootout. See a car chase. We don’t’ want to be in the car chase. We are not an actor in the movie we are sitting having you show and tell us a story. Basics.

    It’s a shame really. The focus on CGI for things like gunshot smoke and fire and things that break is absurd. This is a movie that needs not CGI. You can see clear examples of this in decade’s worth or more watchable and enjoyable police and crime dramas. Even some Steven Segal films are better done this and that’s something nobody wants to hear.

    Best Actor

    The acting in this film is all over the place. While it feels natural at most parts there are some people that do better than others.

    Josh Brolin plays the main lead, a cop who just can’t seem to get away from being in WW2. He’s a jar head and has no character development at all. We don’t care about him, his perfect hair and teeth or his pregnant wife.

    Worst Actor

    Tie

    Ryan Gosling plays another sergeant but unlike Brolin this time Gosling is almost as if he were impersonating somebody in the 40’s. Much you would do about chiming up an impersonation of Groucho Marks as if everybody acted and talked like him. It never felt like Ryan was in the time period, it felt like he was acting. And that hammy accent he tried to pulled off. Every time he spoke I wished he’d get hit by a stray bullet. The fact that he instantly gets the mob bosses girl without even talking to her is mind-numbing. The pay-off is getting the girl at the end. Geez people.

    What is Sean Penn doing in this role? It’s like a spoof of Tom Cruise as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder. That’s all you will be thinking about has he lays down the most barbaric and Neanderthal like lines. Truck drivers will easily be able to repeat them on their CB radio. The problem with mobster movies is always making the boss seem like an idiot. They are not. They are incredibly smart. How do you think they can manipulate the system and get away scot free so often throughout history? Give the main villain more credit and make him a threat. It will make the audience hate him more and cheer the heroes on more. What’s with Penn’s face make-up? I know makeup artists gotta practice but save that for high school dance recitals.
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Metascore
40

Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 38
  2. Negative: 10 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Feb 27, 2013
    42
    The violence is so indifferently presented that it has no kick; it’s not grim or graphic enough to shock, but it doesn’t rev us up, either. The picture’s various shoot-’em-up sequences are so generically conceived and shot that each one is indistinguishable from the next – by the movie’s end, they may as well all collapse into an exhausted heap.
  2. 75
    Gangster Squad is a gang war drama built on Western conventions, a rootin' tootin', Camel-smokin', whiskey swillin' shoot'em up.
  3. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Jan 19, 2013
    30
    The over-all result is a misstep for Fleischer. [21 Jan. 2013, p. 78]