***1.5 out of 5***
Wow...what the hell did I just watch? Not only does Gangster Squad leave you questioning exactly what type of film it wants to be, but its also ends up being a pretty damn appauling and very disappointing film. The thing I'm hearing a lot so far is 'it looked great, it really looked like 1949". OK, yes I agree the details from the costumes to the set design to the cars and various other props were as spot on as possible. If you stared at an screenshot from the film, you'd think they've really done wonders here, but thats not possible when the film has absolutely no feel for the era at all. It felt timeless, but not in a good way. If I'm expected to be thrown head first into this stylistic world, I need to feel drenched in the atmosphere, the style, the sass, but all the film did was force violent style at every turn that felt wildly out of place and never once did I feel the focus required for such a detailed world. Sure it had its humor and the cast have their moments, but what exactly was this film trying to be? A loose, funny pisstake of the genre or a serious, balls-out gangster flick? Either way it fails on both accounts and a lot of it is down to the abysmal script. Right from the opening frames I was taking out of the film. Mickey Cohen, the villain of the piece, is layed out as flat as can be with no unique qualities of his own to really make him menacing and a striking individual to cower under. The writer just takes outlines from Mafia 101 and rolls with them. From there the script only gets worse, darting around undeveloped characters through patchy scene after patchy scene and finishes it all off with some truly awful dialogue that tries to be sassy, funny talk, but flops hard. I just don't want to go into where the film ends up, but it left me quite angry leaving the theater (even worse with the closing cheesy montage of 'where are we now' with the cardboard cutout message repeated in voiceover). This film had great promise of being on one of two paths, either a silly, creative and funny comedic take on the genre or a hard-arsed gangster flick and it fails at both. It just flops around on the screen and dies out quickly.
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