Monday, 21 January 2013

Gangster Squad (2013)

In this late-40s gangster piece, Josh Brolin (son of James Brolin) plays an Irish-American no holds barred cop in a world of East Coast, wild west corruption. LA Kingpin Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), has the ambition of ruling over all of LA and buying every cop for sale and doing away with the rest; only Brolin's John O'Mara and his carefully arranged team of age- and race-balanced cohorts can stop him.

I guess you can detect already my cynicism for this film, it's very cliched. Really, beginning to end we have an entirely predictable gangster flick, considerably more stylized than it's predecessors (you can tell from the posters: it's a sort of neon-lit plastic-fantastic noir which reminded me of Tim Burton's Batman series; just think of it as Batman Forever without Batman). The film employs the most overused and boring tropes of the crime fiction genre, and I found myself looking at my watch far more often than anyone should in an action blockbuster.

The best thing in the film is Ryan Gosling as the young chain-smoking hot-shot, he plays the role incredibly well (I've done a complete 180 on my opinion of Gosling since The Ides of March). Emma Stone is Gorgeous, and Josh Brolin does something better than the really quite good Tommy Lee Jones impersonation he gave us in Men In Black 3. Perhaps the worst is seeing Sean Penn and Nick Nolte, both truly gifted actors, wasted in their respective, trite roles.

Briefly I also want to mention the target audience: who the hell is it? The film had the overly-stylized, fast-talking quip-spouting tough-guys vs tough-guys sensibility of a film aimed at male teens, but the amount of violence (quite gory at times) precludes it from a rating low enough for that audience to attend (getting away with an MA15+ in Australia, but an R in the United States). I simply do not understand who, precisely, the film is made for.

Gangster Squad is a pedestrian attempt at a period action blockbuster. It's currently number 4 in US box office sales, but I do genuinely believe that that has much more to do with promotion and the posters, than the quality of film or any sort of word-of-mouth popularity. Don't bother with this one.

No comments:

Post a Comment