User Score
6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 268 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 40 out of 268
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  1. Apr 20, 2013
    5
    Gangster shoot'em-up movie (with almost no shooting in the first hour), which feels like a mix of short scenes from various, unrelated films. It has a great cast that never manages to meet the expectations, great setting that is never really explored, and mediocre attempts to create deeper characters that fail miserably in a mish-mash of cliches.
  2. Jan 11, 2013
    6
    Great cinematography, but the film itself leaves a lot to be desired, more style less substance. There are a lot of things this movie gets right, but from a narrative perspective, it isn't very strong. Sean Penn, cinematography and the shootouts are the true stars of the film
  3. Jan 12, 2013
    5
    "Gangster Squad" is a thoroughly enjoyable crime noir flick, resplendent in its violence but lacking in emotional depth. Sean Penn shines in what is otherwise a forgettable film.
  4. Jan 12, 2013
    4
    If Gangster Squad was going to be released in September, then how come the movie pushed back to January 14? This isn't "L.A. Confidential 2.0." I'd say "Gangster Squad," how could you. I was really aware that the film was not just the violence, but the horrific tragedies in Aurora and Newtown. This is one of the most disappointing movies of 2013. Mediocre script, bad choices of pickingIf Gangster Squad was going to be released in September, then how come the movie pushed back to January 14? This isn't "L.A. Confidential 2.0." I'd say "Gangster Squad," how could you. I was really aware that the film was not just the violence, but the horrific tragedies in Aurora and Newtown. This is one of the most disappointing movies of 2013. Mediocre script, bad choices of picking gangster characters, poor acting. They f***ed up. Expand
  5. Jan 11, 2013
    6
    A pulpy action throwback that effortlessly achieves its goal to entertain thanks to a top-shelf cast, dazzling direction, and a fast-paced screenplay chock-full of snappy 1940s-style patter.
  6. Jan 18, 2013
    5
    You can look at this two different ways. As a movie, its fine. It's got gun fights, slow motion, fist fights and car chases. On the other hand, it's supposed to be inspired by the story of the real gangster squad. In a recent article, John O'Mara's granddaughter was interviews to hear about he legend behind the man. She quoted her mother as saying "They used their brains, not bullets" andYou can look at this two different ways. As a movie, its fine. It's got gun fights, slow motion, fist fights and car chases. On the other hand, it's supposed to be inspired by the story of the real gangster squad. In a recent article, John O'Mara's granddaughter was interviews to hear about he legend behind the man. She quoted her mother as saying "They used their brains, not bullets" and went further on to explain that violence sells, so violence wins. Her mother also said that her O'Mara fired his gun once in his career, and it was a warning shot.

    So where does this leave us with the ultra violent, hero cop hurrah? in the middle, which is why I gave this movie a 5. I'm a huge film noir buff. I love everything from Bogart in The Maltese Falcon all the way to Pearce Crowe in L.A. confidential. This movie falls short in being a caricature of a golden era, and doesn't do the men justice who helped put Cohen away. It's still a decent movie, and I'm not squeamish towards violence (as long as it has its place). That said, all the style, violence and charisma this movie has still leaves me a bit uneasy knowing the white washing the characters went through to make them square jawed, all American heroes. This movie would have done better with less action and more truth.
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  7. Jan 21, 2013
    5
    Good acting, time period cars, clothes and firearms seemed peroid correct. However, the production and directing of this movie is where it loses me. If you got 8 bucks to blow and less than 2 hours to kill go for it, other wise see something else
  8. Jan 24, 2013
    5
    Gangster Squad has a great style and some great actors; unfortunately the writing keeps it from being so much more than it could've been. When coming into this film I expected to be bored to death, but the film is actually very entertaining and fun which will please many audience members. There is a lot of violence and action that made this feel like a mix of
  9. Jan 31, 2013
    4
    I was excited when I saw the previews for this one but very disappointed. Reminded me of Boardwalk Empire but without the good characters and twists of storyline. If it wasn't for Sean Penn's character/effort I would have turned this off before it was 30 minutes into the film. Credit the set design and costume design as it was easy to believe the scenery. But, if that is the best thing II was excited when I saw the previews for this one but very disappointed. Reminded me of Boardwalk Empire but without the good characters and twists of storyline. If it wasn't for Sean Penn's character/effort I would have turned this off before it was 30 minutes into the film. Credit the set design and costume design as it was easy to believe the scenery. But, if that is the best thing I can say about the movie (other than Sean Penn) maybe that is enough said! Expand
  10. Feb 3, 2013
    5
    This movie deserves it's mediocre reviews. The start scene involving the chief over dramatized, the scene with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling horrible and trying to be dramatic. Why are cops attacking the mob with standard handguns? I like the whole the war is over that sentence and theme was repetitive. Don't pay for this film I had such high hopes, especially with the cast. But it's just aThis movie deserves it's mediocre reviews. The start scene involving the chief over dramatized, the scene with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling horrible and trying to be dramatic. Why are cops attacking the mob with standard handguns? I like the whole the war is over that sentence and theme was repetitive. Don't pay for this film I had such high hopes, especially with the cast. But it's just a let down. Expand
  11. Feb 23, 2013
    5
    You've seen Goodfellas, Scarface and LA Confidential? Then you've seen Gangster Squad. All cliches and no substance, the best thing in it are the cars.
  12. Apr 14, 2013
    6
    LA Confidential highlighted the fall of Mickey Cohen as a decision made out of greed and corruption within the police force. Gangster Squad argues the opposite, that Cohen failed because of the righteous and the honourable, even if their methods turn out to be questionable. What is ultimately an action film, Gangster Squad delves into the Cohen era but rarely tries to say anythingLA Confidential highlighted the fall of Mickey Cohen as a decision made out of greed and corruption within the police force. Gangster Squad argues the opposite, that Cohen failed because of the righteous and the honourable, even if their methods turn out to be questionable. What is ultimately an action film, Gangster Squad delves into the Cohen era but rarely tries to say anything meaningful in favor of the tongue in cheek actioner the studio clearly envisioned. The film opens to Mickey (Sean Penn) owning LA, much to the chagrin of the police commissioner (Nick Nolte). Therefore he sets up an off the book squad of officers with one goal, the destruction of Cohen's criminal organisation, by any means necessary. The film does play like a poor mans untouchables and doesn't hold a candle to the masterpiece that is LA Confidential but Gangster Squad is a solid action romp across the city of angels with a group of actors clearly having a whale of a time. Josh Brolin leads the titular squad with his charming everyman shtick, Michael Pena and Robert Patrick make a great odd couple pair of gunslingers and Sean Penn camps it up the the extreme as Cohen but the charm of the film lies with Ryan Gosling who plays a cop who thinks hes too smart to play cop and get involved. Gosling impresses with the choices he makes for the character and his chemistry with leading lady (if her limited presence warrants the leading part) Emma Stone, although that was already proven by Crazy Stupid Love. Stone herself doesn't really have much to do and therefore doesn't stand out but she's serviceable at least and has a classic noir quality to her. The downside to the film is that it is just a by the book actioner with a workable but not amazing director who doesn't really try to impress. A car chase halfway through the picture is shoddy and highlights the flaws in the direction although a shootout in Chinatown impresses in the moment. The script however is playful and entertaining meaning the character interactions pop. The film ultimately lives in the shadow of other great gangster films and never really lives up to their pedigree but as an action flick it entertains for its run time, just don't try and recount the events of the film a week after seeing it, you might just find you honestly can't remember them. Expand
  13. Apr 29, 2013
    6
    This ho hum gangster flick has one of the greatest pedigree in recent months, but has no ambition. Great actors? Check. An acclaimed director? Check. What you have though is simply a straight up action film. nothing more. If you want a more visceral and greater take of this 'rogue cops vs gangsters' sub genre, than look up 'The Untouchables'.
  14. Jun 4, 2013
    6
    "While i was not in love with the film nor is it a masterpiece in anyway, shape or form. But it sets a good tone in its classic backdrop. Featuring some pretty good performances. The bottom line is GS is entertaining but insanely forgettable. Its just good" B-
  15. Oct 5, 2013
    5
    No amount of flashy cinematography, classic callbacks to gangster films of the past or an all star cast can save Gangster Squad from being a mediocre mess of mixed tones, laughable dialogue and over the top drama that is based on a true story, with obvious elements entirely fictionalised for the big screen. Sean Penn puts in what can only be described as an exaggerated performance asNo amount of flashy cinematography, classic callbacks to gangster films of the past or an all star cast can save Gangster Squad from being a mediocre mess of mixed tones, laughable dialogue and over the top drama that is based on a true story, with obvious elements entirely fictionalised for the big screen. Sean Penn puts in what can only be described as an exaggerated performance as Mickey Cohen, a powerful gangster in the west coast who wants to control the whole lot, he talks confidently and is surrounded by an entourage of cronies and paid off cops who help him sleep easy at night. Penn's physical appearance in the film is quite comical, with one shade of orange too many, but hot-headed cop John O'Mara (Josh Brolin) is always right behind Cohen, picking up his mess and causing problems as a one man wrecking crew, until he is assigned as the head of a special group tasked with taking down Cohen, guerrilla warfare style. This is where the onslaught of violence ensues which seems unnecessary, each and every big member of the cast, whether its O'Mara, Wooters (Ryan Gosling) or the secretive and deceiving Grace Faraday (Emma Stone) are underdeveloped with next to no motive for going "off the books" in their attempt to bring down Cohen. It isn't all a lost hope though, it's been ramped up and glamourised to combine classic elements of noir films to create a visually striking piece, but this always falls flat with the films content, the biggest downfall being cartoonish and amateur writing that tries to be smart but comes off as a TV movie with a Hollywood budget, the cast can are only as good as the material, Sean Penn showing signs of excellence as the ever unpredictable mob boss, but the film film keeps going on a tone that almost feels like a parody, an inconsistent tone doesn't help the situation, we see hotshots and pretty girls, then we are introduced to a barrage of gunfights and car chases, but then we have retaliation that is muddled and brought down by that damn dialogue, seriously, the film is way out of its depth. A chemistry between Gosling and Stone is non-existent, while the film delves deeper into predicability with a final act that only solidifies this stance, it's fun and enjoyable, but writing on the wall. Gangster Squad should be seen for its visual spectacle and talented cast which also includes Robert Patrick, Michael Peña, Anthony Mackie and Giovanni Ribisi, but certainly not for its attempts at a serious tone which is dragged to the mud with a questionable script and cartoon whims from its characters, who just appear to enjoy playing dress-up, looks can indeed be deceiving. Expand
  16. Apr 10, 2013
    6
    A decent movie overall. The movie basically about cop vengeance on criminals in Los Angeles. Main character/actor was pretty good and main bad guy/actor was pretty good as well. But the other cast members sucked. Theres a decent amount of action scenes mixed in with some drama and thriller moments. But the movie just didn't excelled at any particular area that drew interest from me. Its aA decent movie overall. The movie basically about cop vengeance on criminals in Los Angeles. Main character/actor was pretty good and main bad guy/actor was pretty good as well. But the other cast members sucked. Theres a decent amount of action scenes mixed in with some drama and thriller moments. But the movie just didn't excelled at any particular area that drew interest from me. Its a good guy always wins type of movie, just to point out. Title is a bit misleading.. Expand
  17. Apr 27, 2013
    5
    An unfortunate waste of such great talent. This is just an average film still entertaining, but really lacks when it comes to the script and the tone.
  18. May 18, 2013
    4
    Not that good of a movie. Good cast of actors but none of them are put to good use. Dialogue is often very generic and straight forward, The plot is also very generic and at times predictable. Features a few odd attempts at humor which had no business being in this movie, Especially when it's suppose to be an action movie filled with gangsters and brutal murders. The action scenesNot that good of a movie. Good cast of actors but none of them are put to good use. Dialogue is often very generic and straight forward, The plot is also very generic and at times predictable. Features a few odd attempts at humor which had no business being in this movie, Especially when it's suppose to be an action movie filled with gangsters and brutal murders. The action scenes themselves were nothing special either. Overall, Just another over hyped film that simply fails to live up to it's potential. Expand
  19. Jul 7, 2013
    6
    There is no doubting that director Ruben Fleischer produced a stylish film, or perhaps the word flashy is actually more fitting, but to use a line as clichéd as the film itself, it's all style over substance.

    I would like to see the original story behind the unit just to see how many of the unit's members were of the writers own making. The unit is literally an identi-kit of clichéd
    There is no doubting that director Ruben Fleischer produced a stylish film, or perhaps the word flashy is actually more fitting, but to use a line as clichéd as the film itself, it's all style over substance.

    I would like to see the original story behind the unit just to see how many of the unit's members were of the writers own making. The unit is literally an identi-kit of clichéd characters, the war veteran, the ladies man, the black dude, the nerdy one with the family, the old-should-be retired one. With the exception of Brolin and Gosling's characters, and Penn's over the top scene chewing Mickey Cohen, the rest of the film's big names are wasted on flimsy two dimensional roles. But hey, the slow-motion gun fire and car chase looks great though right?

    The film's production was not trouble free, what with the re-writing of a pivotal scene following the Aurora cinema tragedy but I really can't imagine that this missing scene could have saved Gangster Squad from being any other than an average crime flick.

    The main problem with Gangster Squad is it's competition. This story has been told before, think of L.A. Confidential (1950's LAPD) or The Untouchables (police unit against Al Capone), and both times the storytelling was superior.

    Considering how good the film could have been with the cast and story at hand, Gangster Squad is a disappointingly average film but it's still probably worth checking out as one of 2013's biggest releases.
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  20. Jul 14, 2013
    5
    This movie was a disappointment, but not as bad as some critics make it out to be. I thought it was decent, but the trailers made it look fantastic, and it really wasn't.
  21. Jul 15, 2013
    5
    la mafia domino en los angeles en 1949 por mickie coen pero la fuerza antiganster se pone en medio como una especie de "the avengers" para detener esto a punta de balas y golpes un buen trama pero no un excelente desarrollo
  22. Jul 25, 2013
    6
    Don't mistake Gangster Squad for a serious gangster movie. It's an action movie that features A-listers and decent production design. Let's all just acknowledge this is the best we're going to get from the multiplex this early in the year.
  23. Nov 10, 2013
    6
    Ferociously edited and directed with some style even if the screenplay is some what suspect. As written here this gangster squad veer between, at best, opportunistic and, at worst, downright inept. The film is always fast moving and entertaining and the production values are excellent. Josh Brolin gives the best performance as the squad's leader John O'Mara. Sean Penn is at his sceneryFerociously edited and directed with some style even if the screenplay is some what suspect. As written here this gangster squad veer between, at best, opportunistic and, at worst, downright inept. The film is always fast moving and entertaining and the production values are excellent. Josh Brolin gives the best performance as the squad's leader John O'Mara. Sean Penn is at his scenery chewing worst as arch villain Mickey Cohen and Ryan Gosling, in an unusually bland role for his superb actor, is rather colourless. Emma Stone has little to do as the obligatory female love interest as is also the case with many well known faces in supporting roles. Still, as undemanding entertainment you can do a lot worse. Expand
  24. Jan 25, 2014
    6
    The movie is buoyed by snappy lines ("go buy an ice-cream" being one of the dumbest and best screen line), good looking cast, beautiful 1940s scenery and yes, some really funny scenes, but it lacks sorely in its storyline. The ending was almost an anti-climax, (being a mindless shoot-out) and Emma Stone's role is reduced to that of a beautiful moll who pretty much has little use in theThe movie is buoyed by snappy lines ("go buy an ice-cream" being one of the dumbest and best screen line), good looking cast, beautiful 1940s scenery and yes, some really funny scenes, but it lacks sorely in its storyline. The ending was almost an anti-climax, (being a mindless shoot-out) and Emma Stone's role is reduced to that of a beautiful moll who pretty much has little use in the screen. If it worked on all these things, the show could really be a great blockbuster. Expand
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. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Jan 19, 2013
    30
    The over-all result is a misstep for Fleischer. [21 Jan. 2013, p. 78]