Thursday, 14 February 2013

Gangster Squad (2013)

















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.

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'



8/10