User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 245 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 32 out of 245

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  1. Feb 16, 2014
    8
    Gangster Squad, was better than my expectations.I can`t say it has much in it that are memorable moments, but it`s a movie worth watching. It has some great characters on the good and bad side of things.The ending was satisfying.
  2. Feb 3, 2014
    8
    Great, snappy dialogue. Story was a bit all over the place and there was none of the elegance or "cleanliness" of Mulholland Falls or Chinatown but my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless. Wonderful sets, solid acting. I'm a sucker for these LA 1940s period pieces so what can I tell ya? Great watching.
  3. 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 the screen. If it worked on all these things, the show could really be a great blockbuster. Expand
  4. Dec 16, 2013
    7
    2013 for me seems to be completely over saturated with sequels and copy cats. I know people have been saying that for years but this year I have seen a lot. Its not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion though. Good movies leave people wanting more and therefor its understandable that movies like gangster squad are made. Right away and all the through I was constantly reminded of "The Untouchables", its influence on this movie are undeniable. A group of cops go above the law to bring down the mob. Once I accepted that and moved on I was entertained thoroughly. This movie has loads of action and lots of big name actors who keep it interesting. Most notably is Sean Penn who has a great performance as the mob boss. It makes me wish he played more characters like this because he definitely stuck out as the best. In the end I would call this movie a cross between the plot of "the untouchables" and the characters from something more comical like "Dick Tracy". Although it isn't as incredible as lots of gangster movies its still a good worthwhile watch. Expand
  5. 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 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
  6. 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 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
  7. Sep 11, 2013
    8
    Gangster Squad is the cheesiest, most unrealistic, cliche ridden and overblown crime film you could ever think of. But man oh man is it fun! Ice cool guys get the beautiful dames, old haggard badasses get to be, um, badass and Sean Penn gets to spew such ridiculous gold as "Here comes Santa Claus!" with a Tommy-gun in his hands. Expecting L.A Confidential? You'll leave disappointed.Go in expecting a cop-based version of Scarface and you'll walk away with a mile-wide grin on your face. Fantastic stuff! Expand
  8. 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 cleaver dialogue would have made this film worth watching. Expand
  9. 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.
  10. Jul 22, 2013
    8
    This started out as a serious gangster movie and ended in a wild west shooting style. Interesting characters, while the movie is deep and tells a scary story its full of meaningless shooting and action. An interesting mix thats good for all fans of the wild west and 1940s america.
  11. Jul 19, 2013
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Hollywood dishes out hundreds of movies each year with the intend of mindless, awe-inspiring entertainment. "Gangster Squad" fits this category appropriately. It is violent, ridiculous, full of clichés, and not to be taken too seriously. The plot itself is something we have seen over and over again: a group of incorruptible cops come together to take down a ruthless gangster. Sounds like Brian De Palma's "The Untouchables." That movie was also a bloody, inaccurate, fun crowd- pleaser, but it had something that "Gangster Squad" lacks, and that is great characters.

    Sure, Josh Brolin embodies the appearance and mind of a tough, take-no-prisoners cop, and Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen is intense and over the top, while holding some bursts of brilliance, but everyone else in this movie is blandly acted. The forced relationship developed between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone's characters feels rushed and uninspiring-as if its soul intend was just for the purpose of having a romance story. Giovanni Ribisis, Michael Pena, Robert Patrick, and Anthony Mackie are not bad sidekicks of the gangster squad, but not enough dedication is given to them. The rest of the supporting cast falls into this shtick.

    "Gangster Squad" makes up for it with its grim cinematography, slowed down and sped up action sequences, and not to mention its nice set pieces and costumes. This movie is fun to watch for a first viewing and for that I give it a 7/10. If I see it again though, I probably would not be so inclined to score such a high rating.
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  12. 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
  13. 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.
  14. 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
    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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  15. 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-
  16. May 29, 2013
    8
    Very good movie and as others have mentioned, much more graphic than expected but in a good way. Did a great job of portraying the era and had a little bit of everything.
  17. 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.
  18. May 25, 2013
    7
    Even though it isn't as good I thought it would be.It still has a good story,great action and a pretty good ending.Even though the end fight was disappointing,it is still a good movie.
  19. May 24, 2013
    8
    Don't let the critics scare you away, because they always tend to hate movies like this one. Obviously people should have a certain mindset when watching a movie called "Gangster Squad". The movie is everything you expected it to be: A stylish shoot 'em up with top notch acting and lots of dead bad guys. It has a ton of humor and I laughed out loud more times than I do in a lot of modern comedies. It had a few emotional moments as well, but nothing to make you tear up. Not that anyone would watch this movie because they want to cry. It's a great story and I love this ind of movie. Expand
  20. 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
  21. May 23, 2013
    7
    I couldn't tell if the scenes and dialogue were meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek or sincere. It felt almost comical in places, like the director was winking at us and saying "don't take it too seriously." But that sense was so uneven as to make me believe it wasn't intentional. I liked the story line: the depiction of a group of anonymous lawmen who go after an omnipotent gangster and the corrupted city officials under his control. I actually enjoyed the movie despite its flaws. I think that may be because the art direction, cinematography, and excellent acting compensated for the predictable story telling and the over the top earnestness of the screenplay and directing. It was enjoyable to watch. I wouldn't recommend it except with caveats. Expand
  22. 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 scenes themselves were nothing special either. Overall, Just another over hyped film that simply fails to live up to it's potential. Expand
  23. May 14, 2013
    10
    The rapidly expanding Los Angeles of the 1940s and 50s the time when the aeronautics industry was becoming prominent, the freeway system being built, Disneyland was launched and the Chicago and east coast mob was moving in on Nevada and southern California has become a favourite subject of the period crime film these past 20 years. It began with Barry Levinson's Bugsy, set in this new criminal milieu, and Lee Tamahori's Mulholland Falls, which centred on the ruthless cops hired to tackle these largely Jewish newcomers (known as the "Kosher Nostra"). It continued with two films based on James Ellroy's fact-based novels, LA Confidential and The Black Dahlia. The vicious New York gangster and former featherweight boxer Mickey Cohen came west via Chicago, sent by Murder Inc's Meyer Lansky to assist Ben "Bugsy" Siegel. In Bugsy, Cohen was on his way up in the mid-1940s and impersonated by Harvey Keitel, and in LA Confidential, when at his 50s peak, by Paul Guilfoyle. In the naive, heavy-handed, handsomely designed Gangster Squad, he's played as a preening, psychopathic monster by Sean Penn. We first see him using two cars to tear a Chicago interloper in two behind the "Hollywoodland" sign, thus establishing him as the monster who's corrupting the pure, law-abiding Los Angeles. The film is virtually a cross between those 1970s thrillers in which Vietnam veterans return home to clean up their tarnished homeland and Brian De Palma's The Untouchables, where Kevin Costner's Eliot Ness recruits an elite band of cops to break Al Capone's stranglehold hold on prohibition Chicago. Expand
  24. May 4, 2013
    7
    Gangster Squad was a really good movie. The cast is fantastic and they all deliver flawlessly. Josh Brolin and Sean Penn counter one another perfectly and the supporting cast of Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Anthony Mackie, and so many more all fill key roles. The plot and characters were both developed really well also. There were a few plot holes that can be explained through assumptions but pretty weak ones. That and some of the action sequences, especially early on, is what held the film back. Ultimately I think that's the cause for the lower ratings. I don't think a lot of these "experts" actually watch entire films if they don't like how they start and this movie starts slowly. Once it gets going though, it's a really enjoyable film. And it has freaking Emma Stone in a little red dress, that should be enough reason to watch. In all seriousness though, it's a solid movie that most people were probably enjoy. Expand
  25. 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'.
  26. 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.
  27. Apr 20, 2013
    7
    I don't agree with the general critics of this film, it's true that it is not an Oscar film and it could have had more suspense and tension, but it definitely had a lot of action and decent scripts. This movie deserves better numbers than what it has.
  28. 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.
  29. 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 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
  30. 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.
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. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Jan 30, 2013
    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]