Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 258 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , , , , , ,
  • Summary: Los Angeles, 1949. Ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and—if he has his way—every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians who are under his control. It's enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop...except, perhaps, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O'Mara and Jerry Wooters, who come together to try to tear Cohen's world apart. "Gangster Squad" is a colorful retelling of events surrounding the LAPD's efforts to take back their nascent city from one of the most dangerous mafia bosses of all time. [Warner Bros. Pictures/Village Roadshow Pictures] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 38
  2. Negative: 10 out of 38
  1. 75
    Gangster Squad is a gang war drama built on Western conventions, a rootin' tootin', Camel-smokin', whiskey swillin' shoot'em up.
  2. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jan 10, 2013
    Gangster Squad provides a welcome burst of heat and color, even if those qualities are more illusory than real and subject to a fast fade.
  3. Reviewed by: James Mottram
    Jan 7, 2013
    Typified by Penn's blustery performance, Gangster Squad is sleek, stylish but superficial. Easy on the eye, even easier on the brain, it doesn't last long in the memory.
  4. Reviewed by: Louis Black
    Jan 9, 2013
    Despite the unrelenting action and the terrific cast, Gangster Squad comes up more scattered than successful.
  5. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Feb 27, 2013
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Jan 9, 2013
    Though based partly on actual events, Ruben Fleischer's ludicrous shoot-'em-up plays fast and loose with the facts, and plenty else besides.
  7. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Jan 10, 2013
    His (Fleischer) first feature, "Zombieland," was a half-witty genre parody. This one might be described as genre zombie-ism: the hysterical, brainless animation of dead clichés reduced to purposeless, compulsive killing. Too self-serious to succeed as pastiche, it has no reason for being beyond the parasitic urge to feed on the memories of other, better movies.

See all 38 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 51 out of 76
  2. Negative: 11 out of 76
  1. Jan 14, 2013
    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 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
  2. Feb 5, 2013
    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.
  3. Jan 13, 2013
    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 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! Collapse
  4. Feb 1, 2013
    In 1949 Hollywood, a gangster from New York (Sean Penn) muscles his way into the West Coast crime syndicates. To bring him down, a renegade cop (Josh Brolin) assembles a team of outsiders (including Ryan Gosling). This is a time when everybody smoked and women were called "tomatoes." This film's elegant period style and suave, snappy dialogue verge on parody, but director Rubin Fleischer manages to keep a sense of fun, while loading it with plenty of fights (fists and guns). The performances are enjoyable and the pacing never lags. While this isn't exceptional in any way, it's still thoroughly entertaining. Expand
  5. Jul 7, 2013
    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.
  6. Jul 14, 2013
    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. Expand
  7. Feb 5, 2013
    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.

See all 76 User Reviews

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