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. Feb 5, 2013
    9
    I really, really enjoyed this movie. Excellent acting, and pace. Unlike many movies today, it was not "too long" the script was clean. Sean Penn was ferocious and very scary. I hope he wins an Oscar.
    Good comedic relief also. My expectations were fully met.
  2. Jan 12, 2013
    7
    On paper, and based on the preview, this is a movie that I absolutely should have loathed. Reminded me a bit of the old Warren Beatty / Madonna debacle Dick Tracy. Even as I enjoyed the first third or so, I expected the other shoe to drop. I was happy to be wrong. It's no LA Confidential, but I had a lot of fun with this film. The casting choices are solid (Robert Patrick and MichaelOn paper, and based on the preview, this is a movie that I absolutely should have loathed. Reminded me a bit of the old Warren Beatty / Madonna debacle Dick Tracy. Even as I enjoyed the first third or so, I expected the other shoe to drop. I was happy to be wrong. It's no LA Confidential, but I had a lot of fun with this film. The casting choices are solid (Robert Patrick and Michael Pena are terrific), it's exciting if not extremely profound or innovative in terms of storytelling, but with modest expectations, I think action fans and fans of the lead actors will get what they need out of it. It actually got a rather widespread round of applause in my somewhat film-snobby theater. Expand
  3. Jan 13, 2013
    8
    Don't go into this expecting LA Confidential and you're half way towards enjoying a fun comic book style movie with over the top violence that is almost entirely stylish over any type of content. Reminded me a bit of Last Man Standing with Bruce Willis, although this is slightly more fleshed out, the action is well choreographed and the dialogue is macho more than meaningful. A lot ofDon't go into this expecting LA Confidential and you're half way towards enjoying a fun comic book style movie with over the top violence that is almost entirely stylish over any type of content. Reminded me a bit of Last Man Standing with Bruce Willis, although this is slightly more fleshed out, the action is well choreographed and the dialogue is macho more than meaningful. A lot of cool characters including Robert Patrick's bit as a gunslinger who just doesn't miss. Brolin and Gosling play their part to keep everything ticking over whilst Penn is maniacal as Cohen. This isn't a deep film, but it is a good old shoot em up with snappy one liners, cool characters and lots of style. Go to see it! Expand
  4. Jan 13, 2013
    9
    Can't help but think that critics have an agenda. This is a really good movie. I really liked the way it was stylized and filmed. It is a bit funny sometimes but a great experience through and through. Shall watch it again. Highly recommended.
  5. Jan 19, 2013
    10
    This movie is fantastic. Ton of blood, action, and suspense. If you like those types of movies, than Gangster Squad is for you. Right from the beginning, the movie had my attention.
  6. Jan 24, 2013
    9
    I didn't know what to expect when I considered seeing this film--I was worried that there would be too much action and try to be something that it shouldn't. Gangster Squad is a heavily cliched film which does almost everything right. Are cliches all that bad? I don't think they are. A good introduction to all of the characters is key for this kind of film. The antagonist played by SeanI didn't know what to expect when I considered seeing this film--I was worried that there would be too much action and try to be something that it shouldn't. Gangster Squad is a heavily cliched film which does almost everything right. Are cliches all that bad? I don't think they are. A good introduction to all of the characters is key for this kind of film. The antagonist played by Sean Penn blew my mind and made me enjoy every moment he was on screen. Only problem I noticed with the introduction is that it drags on for longer than it needed to do so--taking up too much of a film which could have been longer. The mind-set needed to watch this film is that of what the classic gangster films used to be like. It's a classically designed and cliche gangster film which blew me away and only just misses out on the perfect score due to length. Expand
  7. 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 newThe 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
  8. Apr 8, 2013
    10
    I love 1930s 1950s gangster movies! Everything about them is awesome, This movie has a lot of great actors, good special effects, a lot of great scenes, and a good story. And just because I love gangster movies, 10/10
  9. 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.
  10. 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 modernDon'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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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 "The2013 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
  14. Jan 14, 2013
    10
    Angels: This is a good gangster movie. The dialog is tough, and smart, the characters are interesting, The plot is exciting, the scenery and costumes are very stylish, and the violence is, well, very violent. What is not to like. I have an admission to make. This movie is really an 8/9, but I gave it a 10, because I wanted to raise its average to combat the 'haters'. Because of theAngels: This is a good gangster movie. The dialog is tough, and smart, the characters are interesting, The plot is exciting, the scenery and costumes are very stylish, and the violence is, well, very violent. What is not to like. I have an admission to make. This movie is really an 8/9, but I gave it a 10, because I wanted to raise its average to combat the 'haters'. Because of the negative reviews I almost did not go to see the movie, but my buddy out-voted me, and I am very glad that he did. Did I say that Sean Penn and Ryan Gosling knock the ball out of the park? Look, those boys really get into character, and I am a sucker for pretty boy Ryan. Now, the critics say, this movie is no LA Confidential. Which must be true, because it's called 'Gangster Squad'. A very enjoyable night out. Expand
  15. 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.
  16. Jan 11, 2013
    8
    Writing about this movie, but avoiding spoilers, I will say that I'm baffled by the reviews stating it's mediocre or awful. I went into this movie expecting entertainment. Any film by the name of "Gangster Squad" is not expected to be highly storytellling. It's a classier version of a shoot-em-up. Great humor and subtle nuances made this film very entertaining. Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, andWriting about this movie, but avoiding spoilers, I will say that I'm baffled by the reviews stating it's mediocre or awful. I went into this movie expecting entertainment. Any film by the name of "Gangster Squad" is not expected to be highly storytellling. It's a classier version of a shoot-em-up. Great humor and subtle nuances made this film very entertaining. Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, and even in a quirky way Ryan Gosling all stood out with memorable acting. The only person that felt a little cut-and-dry was the one who played Brolin's character's wife (I'd throw that to the writing and not the actress herself). I honestly felt this movie was somewhat reminiscent of Dick Tracy, but less colorful. The action, the style, and the cinematography were all on point and the edit made to remove the Movie Theater scene (which delayed the movie's release in the first place) and replace it with something else is quite seamless. There were some surprise cast members that I didnt know were in the movie, but added very very well to the story. I give this movie an 8 out of 10 (would be 8.5 if it had the option) as there are some minor flaws and points where I feel it was rushed in some areas, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will buy the DVD when it is released and hopefully there is bonus footage, so it wont feel so rushed. Would recommend to friends and strangers alike. I'd say just watch with an open mind and not for the movie to be taken DRASTICALLY seriously, and just as a friday night flick. Expand
  17. Jan 12, 2013
    7
    It's just a fun movie. I'm a sucker for gangster movies and history, and while at times this is over the top it's still a beautifully shot and decently acted film. Just go in with an open mind and don't be expecting "Goodfellas" and you'll enjoy yourself.
  18. Jan 15, 2013
    9
    I really enjoyed this movie from beginning to end. It COULD'VE been an epic movie like other gangster movies in the past, but sadly it's only 1 1/2 hours long. I think this movie should've been a 3 hour epic, or nearly 3 hours...and more story-focused. But I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be watching it again tomorrow.
  19. Jan 14, 2013
    10
    A movie like this should be rated on it's entertainment value, and this movie is brilliant. I don't understand why people don't like it? It is an all round superb movie, in fact i loved it so much i'm going to see it again. It was very emotional at some parts and shocking at others. No major issue stood out at me at all. I love that era and location in history and this movie was perfectA movie like this should be rated on it's entertainment value, and this movie is brilliant. I don't understand why people don't like it? It is an all round superb movie, in fact i loved it so much i'm going to see it again. It was very emotional at some parts and shocking at others. No major issue stood out at me at all. I love that era and location in history and this movie was perfect for entertaining that. Expand
  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. Jan 14, 2013
    8
    Gangster Squad provides exactly what I expected but also wanted. It has violence, tommy guns, cool suits, and a lot of attitude, which is precisely what a gangster flick should contain. The movie is a terrific throwback to the days when mobsters ran wild and had everyone eating out of the palm of their hand. Director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) shows no mercy when it comes to theGangster Squad provides exactly what I expected but also wanted. It has violence, tommy guns, cool suits, and a lot of attitude, which is precisely what a gangster flick should contain. The movie is a terrific throwback to the days when mobsters ran wild and had everyone eating out of the palm of their hand. Director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) shows no mercy when it comes to the characters getting their hands dirty. He tells a ferocious and foul tale based on true events, but balances it with some good old-fashioned fun and more humor than one might expect from a film like this. Fleischer creates a thrilling, stylish atmosphere and has a hell of a cast to bring such a flashy yet corrupted, dangerous time in our history to life.

    Set in the City of Angels in 1949, boxing champ-turned-mobster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) is running the streets and owns just about everything and everyone in town. Cohen does not have his sights set on just one or two cities in California. He is way too greedy for that. He wants control over the entire state. While most just turn a blind eye, Police Chief Parker (Nick Nolte) wants to take Cohen down and get him out of his city. But he knows he cannot do it within the confinements of the law so he brings in a war hero turned cop named John O
    Expand
  23. 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
  24. Feb 22, 2013
    7
    This film has received many bad reviews, but not because it's a bad movie. The truth is it's just not what people expected it to be. When you hear about a mafia movie, you expect an epic, inside look like with Goodfellas or Casino, but Gangster Squad is from the cops point of view and more like The Untouchables. Gangster Squad is based on a novel and is about an off the books LAPDThis film has received many bad reviews, but not because it's a bad movie. The truth is it's just not what people expected it to be. When you hear about a mafia movie, you expect an epic, inside look like with Goodfellas or Casino, but Gangster Squad is from the cops point of view and more like The Untouchables. Gangster Squad is based on a novel and is about an off the books LAPD operation aimed at bringing down Micky Cohen. In the 1940s, LA had a growing mafia problem on it's hands, and Mickey Cohen was set to become the next Al Capone. Unbeknownst for decades, the LAPD sent a group of cops, who didn't play by the book, after Cohen and by going after his business interests, they attempt to destroy his growing empire. The story is a great one, well deserving of a film adaptation, but what people didn't like was how it turned into an action film. This story has all the makings of an epic mafia drama, an you will be hard pressed to find a better performance than the one Sean Penn gives as Mickey Cohen. It was somewhat disappointing that they didn't get more into Cohen and his operation, but for what it was, it was a great film. As for the cast, it features some of Hollywood's best an brightest as old school meets the up and coming stars of the big screen. Every one from the stars to the ancillary characters give Oscar worthy performances that will be sadly overlooked. because of the nature of the film. If you're looking for a classic mob drama, you're going to be disappointed, but if you want to see an action packed cop movie with a mob element, then Gangster Squad is the film for you. Expand
  25. 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.
  26. 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
  27. 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.
  28. Jan 14, 2013
    9
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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. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Jan 19, 2013
    30
    The over-all result is a misstep for Fleischer. [21 Jan. 2013, p. 78]