November 25, 2014
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Gangster Squad
Don Fowler
4 stars
Reviewer's Rating:

(Old-fashioned cops vs. bad guys movie)

"Gangster Squad" is the fictionalized telling of a squad of cops who work outside the law to bring down LA mobster Mickey Cohen. It plays like an old-fashioned B movie, complete with dialogue, cars, clothes, music and atmosphere right out of 1949 and, according to Joyce, would have been great in black and white.
Josh Brolin plays Sgt. O'Mara, a tough cop who is recruited by the chief of police (Nick Nolte) to lead a secret "Gangster Squad" to stop Cohen (Sean Penn) from taking over the city. He recruits four members, all with their own specialties and personalities: Ryan Gosling, Giovanni Ribisi, Robert Patrick and Anthony Mackie. The squad has their successes and failures, with some of their failures being quite humorous.
Penn makes a frightening, violent character out of Cohen, beginning with a scene where he chains an enemy between two cars with terrifying results. The squad has to operate outside the law, as most of the police and judges are being paid off by Cohen. They destroy a number of his operations, making it look like they are being carried out by a rival Chicago gang.
Emma Stone plays Cohen's mole (Isn't that what they used to call them?), who falls in love with a member of the squad (Gosling) and gets caught in the middle.
There's lots of action and gun play, with a big shootout finale. If you like action, this is the one for you.
Rated a big R, with violence, profanity, sex and drugs. Unlike the early gangster movies with the likes of James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson, little is left to the imagination.


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