Gangster Squad had a large amount of promise before it’s release but due to it being pushed back and having many scenes re-shot in the wake of the Aurora tragedy, by the time it was released the excitement was gone and we are left with a sub-par film.
So in my opinion Gangster Squad was a poor film. There’s no getting around that. I feel like the director knew that too and so tried to cover it up with the excessive amount of blood and brutality within the film. It just went over the top, it became too realistic. I’m sure gangsters did do that, I’m sure they went round bashing people in the eyeball with screwdrivers, but I don’t really want to see that in all it’s glory. The problem was that the brutality wasn’t really advertised, so it was a shock to see it, I feel like the whole cinema recoiled slightly the first time someone got beaten up.
Now, I love Ryan Gosling as much as the next guy, but there was a problem with him in this film. I’m not sure whether it’s just me that had this issue but there was something wrong with his voice. Gosling’s character has a voice like an angel, which would be fine if he wasn’t playing an undercover cop battling against organised crime. Over the course of the film it lowers, but at the start I found it very difficult to understand what he was saying.
On the upside, Sean Penn’s acting was amazing. His character should have been given way more monologues, or even should have been the anti-hero in this film as Josh Brolin’s character just isn’t relatable. Josh’s character makes some bad decisions in terms of his family and came off as quite a cold character. I think here lies the main reason as to why I didn’t enjoy Gangster Squad: Brolin’s character was so unrelatable to me, that I couldn’t feel too sad when things went bad for him (when his friend dies), likewise I couldn’t feel too happy when things when well for him (when the mob boss is caught).
I suppose everyone else’s acting was okay, good enough so that it wasn’t bad. Visually the film was on point, I didn’t spot anything that looked too off, it was very well polished. The car chase scene in particular was noticeably good, probably one of the better scenes in this film.
The film’s conclusion also bothers me greatly. Gosling’s character keeps mentioning that having a strategy is important. It is shown that when they don’t have a strategy, things go wrong. So why is everything resolved by the squad going in and just shooting at everyone and everything until the mob boss dies? It actually makes me angry that that was the ending. It was done just to have a massive shoot-out which, although looked cool, was completely unnecessary. I would have been much happier with a very strategic plan, well executed plan, not this royal rumble that we’re presented with.
I give this film a 5 out of 10 for it’s good car chase scene, Sean Penn’s acting and disappointing ending.