Following the shootings in Aurora, Colorado last year, Gangster Squad was pushed back from its original September release date to remove and replace a scene shown prominently in the trailer – a shootout in a movie theater. The version of the film that finally arrives in theaters may not feature the aforementioned scene, but it’s still an incredibly violent film.
The story tells the story of Los Angeles gangster Mickey Cohen and the group of police officers charged with bringing Cohen down. While based on a true story, the film takes some serious dramatic license with the story. It may not be on the level of, say, Quentin Tarantino’s take on Hitler in Inglourious Basterds, but it aims in that direction.
What helps the film is a strong cast, headed by Josh Brolin and Sean Penn. The brunt of the marketing has focused on Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, though, and for good reason; the two are the standouts of the film.
Still, the film’s strengths can’t overcome the weaknesses. Aside from the excessive violence, the characters are woefully underdeveloped, and the plot progression is weak and largely predictable.
Among new, non-Oscar-baity releases this month, you could do much worse than Gangster Squad. But there are definitely better films coming out this month, let alone this weekend.