Vigilante brigade strives to rid Los Angles of its Jewish mobster, “Mickey Cohen”; a plastic caricature by Sean Penn. It is 1949 and a corps of terrific actors comprise the “squad”; they had to have had a riotous time making this “B” movie about lawless LA and cops gone rogue, cauterizing Cohen’s notorious cabal of amoral thugs. If you are in the mood for a “shoot ’em up”, good versus evil scenario “Gangster Squad” satisfies the craving. This is the time of year when we are smothered with insufferable fluff; mindless violence (concur with filmmaker Charles Evered about the unnecessary, ubiquitous, “mushrooming of mayhem”) vampire mania, a plethora of exorcist candidates, taunting, crippling comprehension; escapism at the remedial level.
Josh Brolin, a WWII veteran, plays an angelic cop, narrating the quasi-nonfictional tale of the unmasking of Mickey Cohen; he recruits a band of renegade police officers, including Ryan Gosling, Robert Patrick, Michael Pena and Giovanni Ribisi; havoc at the apocalyptic level is wreaked upon the villains. The magnitude of the body count saves the viewer from somnolence, but not destined predictability.
Emma Stone as the sensuous, salty love interest softens the thundering testosterone; try as she might, she along with the other actors cannot salvage a film informed solely by revenge.
Meyer “Mickey” Cohen, born in 1913 (d. 1976) was a dedicated disciple of Bugsy Siegel and adopted his role as West Coast Mafia Maven, after Siegel’s assassination; his pals included Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.; he blackmailed Lana Turner because of her tumultuous relationship with mobster, John Stompanato; herein lies the fodder of intriguing, edifying filmmaking, absent in “Gangster Squad”.
TWO & 1/2 STARS!!