Are the ’40s the new ’20s? That’s the question the team behind ‘Gangster Squad’ is hoping will pepper the fashion presses after this Thursday’s release.
The big draw of the film seems to be seeing pretty young things Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling snappily dressed in the post-Deco glamour of ’50s fashion. But is there more substance behind the style? Not really, but that doesn’t stop ‘Gangster Squad’ is a half-decent action flick.
The premise is a simple one. In the aftermath of the Second World War, LA is at the mercy of a new enemy – a mobster named Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn).
The LAPD is increasingly in the pocket of the ruthless former boxer, but forthright Police Chief Parker (Nick Nolte) isn’t going to take it lying down.
He commissions Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin), a hardass with a strong moral compass, to assemble a crack team of cops to take down Cohen’s operation. All unofficially of course.
Needless to say, as the battle becomes bloodier, families, lovers and lives join the city of Los Angeles among the prizes at stake. The question is simple, what does it take to win?
The entire answer is pretty simple too. Violence. And lots of it. For a 15 certificate film there’s a shocking amount of blood and brutality in this film, and though it is often a part of some stunning action sequences, director Ruben Fleischer (‘Zombieland’, ’30 Minutes or Less’) also makes some wildly inappropriate attempts to fuse the bloody conflict with a light-hearted pastiche of ’50s gangster flicks.
Puns, comedy cuts and quips all accompany unnecessarily brutal imagery that only detracts from what is otherwise a simple, fast-paced and enjoyable action thriller.