GANGSTER SQUAD: “Bang, Bang, Shoot-’em-up Action”

GANGSTER SQUADJosh Brolin as Sgt. John O’Mara
Ryan Gosling as Sgt. Jerry Wooters
Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen
Emma Stone  as Grace Faraday
Giovanni Ribisi as Det. Conway Keeler
Robert Patrick as Det. Max Kennard
Nick Nolte as Chief Bill Parker
In theaters January 11

Los Angeles 1949.

Gangster Micky Cohen has worked himself up the ladder of the underground, from amateur boxer to Crime Boss. He runs every racket in town – drugs, gambling, prostitution, you name it. He is a cruel and ruthless crime boss who even dares to fly in the face of the Chicago syndicate. The most powerful man in LA, no one says no to Mickey! There doesn’t seem to be a cop or an official he can’t buy…until now. The chief of police is fed up with Mickey’s reign of terror. So his plan is to put together a small group of officers to go after Mickey’s operations one by one to break Mickey to get him out of LA for good. These officers are empowered to do whatever they deem necessary to destroy Mickey’s hold over the city. They have to take Mickey down before his latest business scheme gets underway, because if it does it will make him the most powerful man on the west coast.

To head up this group of elite, rouge officers, the police chief chose Sgt. John O’mara, decorated war veteran trained in guerrilla warfare. The chief empowers O’mara to hand pick the men that he wants to head up his team. They will be given whatever they need to get Mickey gone from LA. Because the methods of the squad aren’t entirely “legal,” all their actions are under the radar, of course. This is war; flat out gang warfare and the body count is beginning to climb. This upstart squad of cops must outsmart, out-gun, and defeat the king of the LA underworld before he takes out his revenge on them and their families.

Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) is definitely the man in charge as he heads up the team. Tough and level headed, his character is trained in hand to hand combat so he can handle himself in a melee. Ryan Gosling is Sgt. Jerry Wooters, an effective cop with a sensitive side who doesn’t like to make waves, but could have a serious situation on his hands when he starts bedding Mickey’s current tomato Grace Faraday (Emma Stone), which could have deadly consequences for the both of them if Mickey finds out. Giovanni Ribisi is Detective Conway Keeler who brings tech savvy to the team in the way of wire tapping and electronic surveillance – new technology and techniques that were just beginning to be used in law enforcement at the time. Robert Patrick is Detective Max Kennard, an old timer, but a crack shot.

All the cast does a fabulous job, including Emma Stone as the long stemmed beauty you usually see in dramas like this, but without all the artificial smolder that usually comes with it. Stone brings a more everyday appeal; Less Hollywood glamour girl, more how did a nice girl like me end up with this monster? Aside from Josh Brolin’s contribution, the absolute driving force of this movie is Sean Penn’s portrayal of gangster Mickey Cohen. Sean delivers a powerful and dynamic performance. His passionate intensity will chill you to the bone. He is cold, callus, and maniacal. He has the world by the tail and he knows it, and God help whomever is in his way, because he won’t think twice about removing you from the picture permanently!

Think “LA Confidential” meets “The Untouchables.” Great period drama here. “Gangster Squad” definitely fires on all cylinders. If you have a fondness for old-time gangster, bang, bang, shoot-’em-up action, “Gangster Squad” is your movie. Don’t miss it! Also if you like the music of the period, the soundtrack does not disappoint.

5 out of 5 stars.

Check out the trailer for “Gangster Squad” below:

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