I went with a friend to see Gangster Squad, and I knew very little about the story line going in. I was also a little apprehensive, considering the last Ryan Gosling movie I had seen (Drive) was incredibly gory. Unfortunately, Gangster Squad does start with a really crude and bloody scene, so I definitely thought I was in for a long movie. The rest of the movie was actually a lot better than I had anticipated in the first few minutes. Although there is a higher level of gore, most of it is tasteful, with the camera gliding behind frosted glass or something similar, so that while you know what is taking place, you don’t necessarily see it. This was a lot better for me, because I don’t typically enjoy a high level of gore. Plus there was a good amount of action, with decent car chase scenes and really enjoyable gun battles.
In terms of the rest of the movie, I really enjoyed it. It is not a simple action movie, but actually has a decent amount of thought put into it. The “secret crew” of police officers needs to be established, so you get to watch as Sergeant O’Mara puts together the team. I always really like this type of movie, where all the little misfits are brought together into a dream team, and Gangster Squad is no exception. I really enjoyed watching all the different characters interacting with each other on the team and how well they complemented each others talents.
A huge benefit to this team is all of the actors who play them. Every single actor was perfect for me, especially Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen – so good! I absolutely adored Ryan Gosling as Jerry, and he was extremely charismatic. The only disappointment was that we didn’t get to see more of Emma Stone as Grace Faraday, because I really liked her in this role. She was sassy and charming, but also came across as very smart, and I wish she had a more central role. Still, I really enjoyed all of the characters and all of the actors who played them.
Finally, the main thing that won me over for Gangster Squad was the humour! After such a crude first scene the one thing I was not expecting was for the movie to be funny, but it totally was! The movie had excellent one liners, good comedic timing, and had several situations for the characters that you couldn’t help but laugh at. I was shocked to find myself chuckling though the entire movie!
So while the movie had a bit of gore, and the historical facts were shaky at best, I liked Gangster Squad for a very specific reason: It entertained me. With humour, casting, and gun battles, this movie was a very delightful surprise for me.
Rating: 4 / 5