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Gangster Squad

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Gangster Squad - 6/1/2013 2:37:33 PM   
Empire Admin


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First review I actually agree with! - 6/1/2013 2:37:33 PM   


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From: Edinburgh
Well almost... Maybe a bit biased but I literally can't stand ANY Sean Penn film. He ruins every film I see him in. That said the "ensemble" cast here is pretty guff too with one or two exceptions (Emma Stone in particular) so that is why I have removed one star!

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Post #: 2
RE: First review I actually agree with! - 7/1/2013 3:32:52 PM   


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I am yet to see the film, however, the critical response sincerely does not match the talent that is involved with this project, what has seemingly gone wrong?

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Post #: 3
RE: First review I actually agree with! - 9/1/2013 6:04:16 PM   


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Just saw the movie. In a good mood Empire could easily have given 4 stars. The modern approach is great, you can really feel the director's touch throughout the movie. The characters are likeable, and Sean Penn is crazy. Well i liked this movie. Not a classic but very well-made entertainment!

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Post #: 4
RE: Gangster Squad - 11/1/2013 8:47:37 PM   


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Quite disappointing considering the heavyweight cast and subject matter. Unfortunately, it's pretty much a straight rip off of 'The Untouchables' without an ounce of the style or fun. Every cliche is covered and all the characters are totally underwritten. In fact, the whole thing felt underwritten like the makers were just ticking all the boxes as they went without really taking the time to flesh things out. Penn has some fun chewing the scenery but the rest of the cast are badly served by a very bland script. There's not even any standout set-pieces to liven things up with most of the action presented in uninteresting ways which fail to quicken the pulse or raise a smile. Disappointing.


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Post #: 5
- 11/1/2013 9:45:20 PM   

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Joined: 22/11/2006
An all action, zero filler gangster romp. Scenes rarely last more than a couple of minutes and every line of dialogue is the bare minimum of what needs to be said, but as long as you're not going in expecting a Scorsese picture you should have plenty of fun. The 32% RT rating is harsh.

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Post #: 6
I approve. - 11/1/2013 10:33:59 PM   

Posts: 257
Joined: 28/4/2012
From: Oxford, UK
Despite featuring some of the most clichéd dialogue I've ever heard, I had enormous fun. Engaging characters and sporadic bursts of gleeful violence compensate for the tropes nicely.
Gangster Squad revels in its body-count.


More reviews and rambling like that ^^^ at: >>> <<<

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Post #: 7
Typical January fare - 13/1/2013 11:00:07 AM   


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Joined: 5/1/2007
I can see why it was pushed back to the month of the film rosters where no-one expects much at all. Gangster Squad really is a piece of pulpy, superfluous gaff. There isn't a single moment when it doesn't feel utterly superficial and wholly unrelatable to anything representing real life.
There was a point 45 mins when I was actually predicting every plot point that would follow and depressingly, everyone came true. Ugh. This is lazy screenwriting 101, its an outdated Untouchables wannabe that has less than half the charm and it almost assembled entirely from redundant noir cliches.
Oh well, looking forward to Django next week. :)

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Post #: 8
RE: Typical January fare - 14/1/2013 9:59:48 AM   


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Joined: 4/12/2012
Still don't know if I like the film or not? :/ As like I love the ensemble and the cast seem enthusiastic about the film (Evidence here)

But still not sure if its just because I'm not a big fan of these kind of films, but I recommend if you liked The Johnny Depp film Public Enemies

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Post #: 9
RE: Typical January fare - 14/1/2013 10:21:04 AM   

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Who thought Gangster Squad would be a good name?!!. This is one ill wait to appear on Lovefilm/Netflix


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Post #: 10
RE: Typical January fare - 15/1/2013 6:43:52 PM   
Filmfan 2

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Enjoyable enough fluff, but nothing of any real substance.


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Post #: 11
Gang Bang Bang....... - 16/1/2013 11:58:01 AM   


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Joined: 5/10/2005
I probably agree with the Empire review all round here, after watching this Film yesterday, although it probably uses just about every cliche from most Gangster movies ever made, which I suppose was to be expected, its not a bad Film overall, and is indeed a very good storyline, which is based on actual events, I thought some of the acting was WAY over the top, and the Gunfights just went on forever( hence my title above ) I came out of the Cinema feeling quite entertained overall.......

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Post #: 12
RE: Gang Bang Bang....... - 16/1/2013 1:03:37 PM   

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Joined: 25/7/2006
Well...Im not sure what I think about this really. First off - it is quite a forgetable film with for me, no real stand out scenes. Secondly, I thought the script was a little dodgy "here comes saaaannndddaaaa cllaaauuusss" BUT it was entertaining in parts but actually felt like a poor mans untouchables as others have said. Probably just the 2 to 3 stars for me. Shame.


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Post #: 13
- 16/1/2013 3:26:01 PM   


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Joined: 6/10/2005
Okay, three stars (just) but nothing especially memorable or interesting here. Penn, Gosling and Patrick are well cast, but Brolin was hard to warm to and like.
Not going to apear in any list of great gangster films and while entertaining enough for a couple of hours, I have almost forgotten it already..

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Post #: 14
RE: - 16/1/2013 4:11:56 PM   
Dr Lenera


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In 1948, post-World War 2 Los Angeles, gangster Mickey Cohen has become the most powerful figure in the California criminal underworld, and intends to continue to expand his criminal enterprise to Chicago and New York. The police have not been able to stop Cohen's ruthless rise, as Cohen has eliminated witnesses and bribed both the court and the police, controlling both illegal and legal sides of L.A. Determined to put a stop to all this, LA Police Chief Bill Parker creates a secret police unit with the sole mission of stopping Cohen and bringing him to justice. Calling themselves the "Gangster Squad", the unit sets out to destroy Cohen's criminal operations......

I wonder if many critics have missed the point somewhat with Gangster Squad, which is in no way intended to be a Great Gangster Epic like The Godfather, Goodfellas etc. Instead, it comes across more as a kind of dumbed down The Untouchables, and on that level is reasonably enjoyable for a while until the constant barrage of beatings and scenes that last around a minute long [a horrible feature of much TV these days sadly including such popular fare as Downtown Abbey which shows that it is becoming the norm] becomes rather tiring. This is the gangster movie reduced to its barest essentials of Borsalino hats and Tommy guns. It is designed merely to entertain, but eventually becomes rather grating, and it’s also a great shame that a far more interesting story exists in the story's background. The film’s chief villain was one of the most intriguing of real-life gangsters, a religious child who began a career as a boxer and then rose up the crime ladder and in the process became a celebrity who ingratiated himself with Hollywood stars.

No, instead it’s just almost two hours of goodies shooting it out with baddies. Well, kind of. The vigilante cops in this movie are as brutal as the gangsters, and while I have no problem with watching ‘heroes’ who break the law onscreen to do their job, the fact that the film never seems to question their methods is rather dubious. It is one thing cheering Arnold Schwarzenegger when he quickly dispatches a bad guy with a quip, but it seems that here we are supposed to cheer as Ryan Gosling pours acid on somebody’s flies. I found all this peculiarly refreshing at first, but by the end I really was left with a bad taste in my mouth. It doesn’t help that the script seems mostly to have been cobbled together from bits and pieces of other gangster films, some dating back to the 30’s, and that once you reach the half way point you will probably know every twist and turn from then on.

Gangster Squad moves like a bullet and never loses its helter-skelter pace, and its lack of attempt at any kind of depth is almost refreshing, but it seriously struggles when it comes to the bits inbetween its action. You aren’t given the opportunity to care about anyone and most of the characters are from stock anyway. The majority of the cast, and I include the usually great Ryan Gosling here, seem a bit lost and unsure as to whether they are in a send-up or a serious movie as they deliver their often shoddy dialogue. Even though his performance has been criticized by many, for me the member of the cast who seems to work best in it is Sean Penn. His psychopathic character, who is so horrid that it’s a wonder anyone works for him, may be nothing like the real Mickey Cohen, but his gleefully over the top, scenery chewing performance seems to suit the film. It’s not like, for instance, Jack Nicholson’s Joker, who seriously unbalanced the film he was in despite its many good features, partly because he seemed to be acting in a different one to its caped hero.

The film looks pretty good and the action doesn’t suffer as much from bad camerawork as many films do at the moment, though it seriously lacks a “wow” sequence like that pram going down the steps in The Untouchables. At least this film gives the impression of being directed by a fairly competent human being [though this is nowhere as good as Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland] rather than a monkey like Les Miserables, where people seem to be revelling in the great story and music so much that they are willing to ignore the dreaful direction on display. I guess if you totally switch your brain off and let the constant forward motion [combined with a bit of slow-motion which may be overused but which I always enjoy seeing onscreen when so much else appears to be speeded up] wash all over your then you may enjoy it. For me, the experience of watching Gangster Squad is like having one of those nights out when you overdo it too early, you kind of have a good time but it all passes in a blur and you feel pretty bad the next day.

[rating: 5/10]

< Message edited by Dr Lenera -- 16/1/2013 4:36:17 PM >


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Post #: 15
Fab-u-lous darling!! - 26/1/2013 10:08:28 AM   
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Perfect Friday night entertainment. Don't go to this movie expecting Inte

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Fab-U-lous Darling! - 26/1/2013 10:13:34 AM   
Jack Ryan


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Warning: do not go to this movie expecting godfather styled storytelling or road to Pedition subtlety, you will only leave disappointed. What younwill get though is a fantastic over the top stylish piece of Friday night entertainment with wonderful performances and sizzling chemistry. Some of the action set pieces will blow you away. True, it bringsbnothing new to the mobster genre, but franks itnupnto a new level. Highly recommended.

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Post #: 17
Well Made Movie ! - 13/2/2013 5:09:33 PM   


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Joined: 6/10/2005
Ryan Gosling, is just good in this Movie also Emma Stone is
very stylish, & camera just love her ,

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Post #: 18
RE: Well Made Movie ! - 14/2/2013 10:51:12 PM   

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Gangster Squad

Fedoras on, lock n load those tommy guns. So you have the new 'Die Hard' film or this, what's it gonna be? the choice is obvious, take a hike 'McClane' you have been retired. Never mind all this PG-13 crapola, this film is where its at and it kicks ass I shit you not. Even cooler is the fact the whole thing is based loosely on real events! yeah there's the door 'McClane', use it.

The plot is as basic as A B C, Mobster chief 'Mickey Cohen' (Sean Penn) rules LA with a sadistic grip. He whacks people like no ones business and usually does it in the most gruesome way just to make sure. In order to combat this an ex special Ops Sgt is asked to pick his own team of skilled guys and take down 'Cohen' any way possible, smash his underworld no questions asked.

The film opens with a brutal execution by 'Cohen' and his men, this is then followed by a brutal bust by 'O Mara' against 'Cohen's' men. Straight away your attention is grabbed by the scruff of the neck and you can see this film will be chock full of 40's period set ball busting...'Die Hard' what now??.

From this simple premise comes a highly predictable yet highly violent action thriller which mixes the gun toting mayhem of 'Last Man Standing' with the small team work of 'The Untouchables'. You could almost call this a sequel or remake of that classic Kevin Coster period thriller. The similarities are close from 'O Mara's' wife wanting him stop the fight, the obligatory recruitment sequences, the rants of revenge from 'Cohen' and the take down montages. The whole plays out like an extreme adult version of 'Dick Tracy'.

The films doesn't pretend to be anything but a near virtual graphic novel adaptation. Its not but you could be mistaken for thinking so, its fast with the action and light on the plot. The visuals are moody and slick, action and violence is highly stylised, the villains are obvious and pug ugly, Brolin looks every bit the action hero with his thick sturdy looking neck and prominent square jaw, Nolte is the gruff well built Chief and Penn is so over the top evil you'd think he was up against 'The Punisher'. I haven't seen someone chew up the scenery like Penn here for ages, he snarls, grimaces, scowls and bellows his way into the evil villain hall of fame.

In short the film is realistic in terms of style, sets, costumes, weapons etc...but very much over the top leaning towards comicbook. The team of 'Untouchables' are your standard fare too I dare say, the token black guy who is good with knives, the cowboy looking sharp six shooter played by Patrick, the token Mexican (for the West coast) played by Pena, Gosling as the ladies man and Ribisi as the brains behind the team. A League of Extraordinary errr...Elliot Ness type blokes who would be fighting Capone if they were in Chicago...type blokes.

Despite the fact this is based on reality the film simply does not try to be anything else other than a violent period set action thriller, you can smell it from the opening sequence, hell the title says it all. Brolin is so damn butch he made me feel ashamed of myself, the only things missing here that could of made it even better are Joe Pesci, Billy Drago and a Morricone score...damn son!.

'light em up'

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