Gangster Squad features approximately a quarter of all actual acting talent currently working in Hollywood: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, and Josh Brolin. TK originally commented on the cast last year when it was assembled like the Avengers of acting (that totally makes Nolte the Hulk).
The film purports that it is based on a true story, but then that’s just a wordy way of saying that it’s a lie, which all fiction is, and so we’re back to square one. Set in the seedy world of 1940s Los Angeles, Gangster Squad tells the story of an off the books group of cops that wage a bloody war against the east coast mafia trying to move into their little piece of heaven in the desert.
Here’s the trailer:
No badges! No rules! Just good guys killing bad guys! Don’t get me wrong, it looks fun enough, but when I trip over a list of actors like that, I have certain expectations, the primary of which is I expect the film not to just be a script that’s made every four years or so.
Even a fun movie has to have some dramatic tension in the trailer, some arc of a story. This just has archetypes in fancy clothes from the past. Nick Nolte stars as Old School Gruff Police Chief. Ryan Gosling is Suave Scoundrel. Josh Brolin is Weathered Veteran. Emma Stone is Pretty Lady. Sean Penn is Al Capone Stand-In. Maybe it’s just a lousy trailer. Fedoras and tommy guns might be nifty, but they don’t substitute for actual plot.